It’s the beginning of January, for the most part people are still trying to get their sleep patterns back to normal and work out exactly how it is they do their jobs. Not Azealia Banks. Showing that she still has no intention to “chill out with the beefin”, she’s been hard at work getting into fights left, right and centre.
Last year, Azealia was the talk of the 2012 tips pieces. For 2013, Angel Haze has featured heavily in the ‘one to watch’ stakes. Both are lady rappers from New York who look set to release their debut albums this year (Banks, you’ll remember, has been a bit slow off the mark with her album, ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’). Why, they are almost too perfect to be pitted against one another as nemeses. And best of all, the media doesn’t even have to invent a feud, because, well, Azealia Banks is involved.
It all started last week (and, in fact, mostly happened last week, but this is the first Beef Of The Week column of the year, so I say it still counts), when Banks tweeted: “Seriously, if you were not born and raised in NY… DON’T CLAIM NY. YOU ARE NOT A NEW YORKER”.
Haze took this to be an attack on her breakthrough track, ‘New York’, in which she raps “I run New York”, despite not being born or raised there. Though given that track came out last June, you’d think her anger might have overflown earlier. Maybe she was busy.
Anyway, there was an exchange of words on the matter. Banks denied her tweet was about anyone specific, then accused her rival of jealousy before claiming to have rejected sexual advances from Haze. For her part, Haze suggested that Banks might get “shanked through your iridescent bubble jacket” if she carried on in such an unseemly manner.
But Twitter feuds are ten-a-penny these days. You’re probably having one right now and, like Haze and Banks, you’ll probably delete all your tweets shortly afterwards. If it’s to be a proper feud, you want to give it more gravitas. Luckily, soon enough Haze had written (in 20 minutes, she claimed) a rapped response, featuring artwork hinting that there had in fact been a romantic link between the two rival rappers at some point, and lines like “Bitch put an album out/think my album’s more done than yours and I just started a week ago”, and “I want you bitches so scared that you mental break/So you’ll forever be broke with expensive taste”.
Banks, suspicious of the speed with which that track appeared, then claimed that it had actually been written months ago, and that Diplo (the producer of the track) had told her as much. However, after releasing the track, Haze had tweeted that “any response that is not in the form of a song is null and void”, of which Banks took note. Her own track, ‘No Problems’, was quickly forthcoming.
Did that end it? No, it did not. Haze came back again with a second track, ‘Shut The Fuck Up’, a title reflecting a sentiment I think we could all agree with by this point.
Perez Hilton certainly wanted it all to stop, and said so via Twitter. And it worked, because Banks then got into an argument with him instead. Neither of them wrote songs about it though, which is a shame. The beef did also break out of Twitter though, when Banks called Hilton a “messy faggot”. Following complaints about her use of the F word, she tweeted: “A faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There’s a BIG difference”. While the following morning she added: “Really not as moved by this F word thing as you all want me to be. As a bisexual person I knew what I meant when I used that word”.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) did not agree though, and issued a statement, outlining various recent cases where “faggot” had been used as a derogatory term against gay men alongside violence, saying: “Banks’ claim that the word ‘faggot’ doesn’t mean a gay male is not true. Regardless of her intent or her personal definition, what matters is the meaning given to that word by those who hear it, and the damage it causes when they do. Undoubtedly there are gay kids who follow her on Twitter who hear this word in an entirely different context. This word is used almost universally by bullies, often as part of a larger verbal or physical assault. This word hurts those kids, no matter what Banks meant by it”.
Banks‘ reply was: “GLAAD and all these others need to give it a break. Picking and choosing when to be offended… Pffffft, as fucking if. As if all ‘derogatory’ words are not now, in 2013, simply just expletives. It’s just all so hypocritical. And while I DO feel bad for using the word, it’s kind of weird/ironic to see it all play itself out. I’ve never gotten this much attention for saying nigger”. She then invited everyone to continue the debate with her via email.
The epilogue to all this came this week when Billboard reported that Banks had seen an 18% increase in sales of her ’1991′ EP in the US last week, while her debut single, ’212′, was up 3%. Though that brought weekly sales of the EP up to 1000 for the week, and of the single to 3000, so perhaps it wasn’t quite the rush of sales it might seem. You need more beefs if you’re going to make a living out of this, Azealia. Way more.