Considering my familiarity with both Iggy Azalea’s music & Azealia Bank’s music, I figured I should probably leave it to myself to finally figure out what this feud between them is really about. Admittedly, I hadn’t even followed the whole thing on Twitter, just caught glimpses and pieces of it from friends or other online sources. But after seeing how much Azealia Banks really, and I mean REALLY dislikes Iggy, and her reasonings as to why, I have to say that there is validity in her argument. One thing Banks & her representatives point out is the similarity between the names of the two rappers, and as we have discussed, in hip- hop culture names are just as big of a “part of the game” as the things themselves. They signal ownership and originality, they stake a claim on artistic media. Even though it may seem petty or childish that the names are being debated, for Azealia it is a way to signify who she is, and that person is being taken away, she explains, through “cultural smudging”, or white people taking ownership/ attempting to take ownership of essentially black creations.
Banks further expresses this when she makes the point that many creations that are essential to our current existence WERE founded in Africa but are attributed to white creators, much like hip- hop music, to her, is being infiltrated by people the likes of Iggy and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who do not know “the struggle” that black rappers are talking about. To Azealia, it’s as if she and her culture are always under attack and fighting for what is naturally theirs. The reading for today’s class also express this sentiment, as Professor Assante’s students hold the conversation of what they have seen in their lives as African- Americans.
Stabbings, shootings, abuse- each person testifies to being a witness to this in their neighborhood, Assante included. There is this lamentation on the fact that event today, just as in the past, we are STILL looking at situations where black people of color are suffering every day. Azealia Banks sees it to, as she gets incredibly heated and teary- eyed over the fact that movies like “12 Years a Slave”, history books and the media still focus on and highlight these instances where black people are underneath the heel of white people. She wants to step away from that and instead hold tight to what culture and positivity does derive from hip- hop, a place that should be a product of black power and to Banks, not inclusive to white rappers who aren’t “spitting the good shit, the REAL shit”. In the Dead Prez interview from today’s reading, the rapper states “we won’t be demoralized… we’re gonna stand up… You can organize to fight for your damn rights and don’t punk out”- that’s part of the idea of preserving true, real hip- hop. It’s being able to take these sentiments, these race- specific issues and present them lyrically. In my opinion, it’s not so much that Azealia Banks hates Iggy or T.I themselves, but she hates the lack of cultural preservation that they represent, and she fears, in the hip- hop world.
If you want to check out Azealia Banks absolutely ripping Iggy & T.I. to shreds, here’s the link to the video I referenced in this post: