Azealia Banks recently joined producer Diplo to cover the August/September issue of VIBE. During her interview with the magazine, Azealia speaks on clashing with other artists on Twitter, meeting Kanye West, meshing pop and hip hop together, and more.
Do you think your American buzz so far has been built more off controversy than music?
Of course, because Americans are distracted by shit like that. It’s like, “Listen, T.I., if I was a fucking boy you wouldn’t say anything to me.” But when I’m a girl and I say something back, the media wants to turn it into all these different things. Rappers beef all the time. I said what I said about [Iggy Azalea] and kept it moving. Then a month later you said what you said. And it keeps coming up. Leave it alone. I didn’t say she couldn’t rap. I said something very real. Out of everything, she had to [call herself] “a runaway slave master”? C’mon, that’s not swag. That’s not fly shit.
And that’s all it was. For T.I. to drag me through the dirt… It’s silly. In Europe they leave it alone and keep playing my songs on the radio and I keep getting booked for fashion shows because they’re about the art. All I’m doing is making myself look bad by getting engaged with y’all because no one in Europe gives a fuck about y’all. All I’m doing is giving y’all niggas exposure. So if you notice I’ve backed up off Twitter the past days [laughs].
Speaking of that wonderful social network, that’s the main thing you’re slammed for—calling out other artists on there.
Exactly. And that’s the only thing niggas could hold against me, because I’m hot. So you know what? I’ma back off and about random shit and make these records. I’m trying to just reach out, do a little record…
Which brings us to Lil’ Kim. Why address her publicly instead of sending a private message or e-mail?
That’s what we did, and that shit is over. Yo, listen, [Lil’ Kim], this black cloud you got over you—don’t try to push that over me. You can keep that, because as soon as I released “Jumanji” is as soon everybody forgot about you. I have my hand on the dial; I can control how hot and cold you are right now. So I’m not even going to give it to you. I tried to make a legitimate track with you, tried to collaborate. I was bigging her up and she keeps throwing it back in my face. I tried.
Do you regret getting into these Twitter clashes?
Of course, because it’s e-thugging… Who wants to look like that? But how else am I gonna reach y’all? I don’t have a T.I. to get on a radio show and defend me; I’m the one behind me. Y’all expect me to agree like, “Oh yea, I’m wack. I only have one song.” That’s one song y’all niggas don’t fucking have. You might win some, but you just lost one.
Kanye certainly doesn’t think you’re wack. Tell me about the time you guys first met in London last year.
He hit me up like, “You’re mad talented. What do you eat for breakfast?” The whole conversation was pretty dense—two Geminis in one room. So it was so many ideas flying. We spent the whole day together, but the best part was dinner. We’re eating out the same plates with chopsticks, and he’s freestyling for me. I was like, “Oh shit, this is real!” You know how you smile so much your face hurts? And you just feel so busted like… [screeches].
So you’re not weary of wavering between pop and hip-hop after seeing the side eyes Nicki received?
Not at all. The hip-hop world is used to a certain lifestyle that Nicki Minaj and me are trying to escape from. It’s weird because they like you when they can still see you, but once you try to ascend, it’s like, “What. The. Fuck?” Because they can’t reach you anymore, and they’re not rising with you. They miss that comfort and it takes a while to get used to it, but eventually they’ll understand. That’s the power of art. Art pushes culture and forward thinking. Right now, if you listen to Nicki, she’s really making good pop music and is definitely up there with Gaga and Katy—exactly where she wants to be. But the hip-hop world maybe didn’t know that’s where she wanted to be [laughs].
Read the rest of the interview here.