azealia phone photo

Azealia Banks Speaks On Failed Dipset Audition

English chaps and chicks saluted Azealia Banks after she took her talents overseas. Now she’s setting out to complete her manifest destiny


Words: Tracy Garraud

AZEALIA BANKS SHOWED UP FOR her big break a few years early. It’s 2008, and the Harlem-born rap rookie is dilly-dallying on the music video set for Juelz Santana’s ’hood carol “Jingle Bellz,” red peacoat beaming, knapsack bulging, lip gloss poppin’. She thumbs her Blackberry while awaiting an impromptu audition for her around-the-way heroes, only to be brushed off before uttering a single syllable. “I was prepared to spit for Dame Dash, but he kind of just went ‘Nah!’ and walked away. Womp,” recalls the now-20-year-old cocoa-toned rascal, choking with laughter. “Juelz looked at me like, ‘Whose little sister is here? Please get her the fuck out.’”

Today the petite eccentric phones from her North London flat, conjuring recent memories of the December date when Kanye West picked her brain over breakfast, lunch and dinner. Harlem block stars are in the rear view; these days the singing rapper is focused on performing at style god Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris estate and nailing a sold-out string of U.K. tour stops. The kindler behind Azealia’s across-the-pond fame and fortune is her irresistible breakout “212,” a grizzly, electro-hop number ironically named for her hometown area code. “American culture is mad programmed and excessive with that quantity-over-quality mentality bullshit,” explains Banks, whose provocative, brilliantly simple “212” video has racked up 14 million views, even earning Twitter approval from unlikely stan Gwenyth Paltrow. “In Europe, your art is looked at on merit and how you hold up your integrity. The people here are just deeper thinkers, ya know?” Banks is on an expedition to mum stupid hoe shenanigans and import a higher level of creative sonics for America’s team estrogen. That is, once she readjusts her British iPhone’s bloody autocorrect.


THERE ARE A FEW FACTS you should know about the artist Kanye reportedly dubbed “the future of music.” The bisexual Gemini has a thing for fairy tale aliases (Yung Rapunxel), hatching Martian tunes and a four-letter word that rhymes with punt. Her Universal Music debut album Broke With Expensive Taste promises a cocktail of Uptown girl autonomy and Euro mischief that’s more M.I.A. than Lil Mama (her words: “crazy fucking digital princess, rave chick, alien elf, like fucking dot-in-the-middle-of-my-forehead it’s gonna be dope”). But can it stand tall on the annoyingly inevitable Nicki Minaj measuring stick? “I don’t remember Nicki having the level of ambition Azealia manifested to me,” says drama teacher Harry Shifman, mentor to both co-alums several years apart at Manhattan’s famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. “Azealia is a pretty extraordinary talent.” Producer Diplo, who first collaborated with the artist formally known as Miss Bank$ via MySpace in 2009, agrees: “Azealia wasn’t built in a marketing meeting. She doesn't conform at all,” he says. “She really [gained momentum] all by herself, so that's going to give her the confidence to become a star.”

The gateway from Harlem World to the real world cracked open at Banks’ aforementioned artsy academy, where the spitfire broadened her Destiny’s Child and Da Brat playlists with classmates’ Mp3s of Interpol and The Strokes. The quirky ex-theatre geek channeled that musical diversity into bars and hooks, just for the hell of it. Post-graduation, she scored a petty $5,000 deal with British indie XL Records off the self-released song “Seventeen,” only to find three years of neglect, ignored calls and leftover Santigold beats awaiting in London town.

Then came “212,” both a sunken ship and lifeboat. Sedating the stress of an eviction and shattered heart, Azealia immersed herself in the Lazy Jay instrumental for two weeks with hopes of jolting her label standing. The resulting track, steeped in saucy expletives and dramatic character segues, did the opposite, as unconvinced XL owner Richard Russells dropped her last summer after listening. The tune resurrected in September once the stark black-and-white visual hit the web, catapulting her into a surging crop of young and reckless raptresses like Kreayshawn and Iggy Azalea. “Not to shade anyone, but what I’m doing is so progressive and so many years ahead of my peers,” announces Banks, who’s working with Brit producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Cee-Lo) and soulful hipster Lana Del Ray for her first LP. “I do whatever the fuck I want… even if someone did it before I’m gonna do it better.”

Now the wunderkind just needs to connect the dots. Before heading off to meet with her tour manager, Azealia muses on the mission awaiting her Westward. “Everyone thinks I’m this arrogant little twat, but I’m actually very levelheaded and real,” she says, unnerved by her unfolding homecoming. “Whether you’re from the States or London, my music will make you feel me.”

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Dee Barnes Talks Dr. Dre. Attack, Goes Silent When Asked If He Sexually Assaulted Her

It’s no secret that pioneering hip-hop journalists Denise “Dee” Barnes was viciously beaten by Dr. Dre in 1991, but there are still details of the harrowing incident that remain a mystery. Barnes, who received an outpouring of support since revealing that she’s homeless, appeared on The Wendy Williams Show Wednesday (April 18) to discuss her living predicament and the night that she was assaulted by Dre, but when asked if the music mogul sexually assaulted her, Barnes went silent.

As Barnes recalled during the interview, Dre attacked her at a Def Jam party in Los Angeles in retaliation for her interview with Ice Cube after he split with N.W.A. According to Barnes, she was standing near a stairway talking to someone when Dre grabbed her by the hair and rammed her head into a brick wall. “Dre approached me out of nowhere [and] grabs me by my hair. He picked me up, lifted me up off the ground [by my hair and] slammed me up against a brick wall several times.

“I didn’t see but he had a bodyguard with him and he kept the crowd from helping [me] by threatening the crowd with a gun,” continued the former Pump It Up host. “The person that was talking to me, was the only person who tried to intervene, he got pistol whipped [and ] lost two teeth.”

Barnes remembers being disoriented as she lay on the ground, unable to walk down the stairs. “I grab the rail, I pull myself back up and run into the women’s restroom. He follows me into the women’s restroom,” she said before taking a pause. “He continued to assault me in the women’s restroom.”

“Were you sexually assaulted?” Williams prodded.

“I’m not comfortable talking about everything right now,” Barnes replied.

“Your silence is speaking volumes,” added Williams.

In a 1991 interview with Rolling Stone, Dre brushed off the incident casaully stating that he threw Barnes “through a door.” The assault came back to light in 2015 after it was noticeably absent from Straight Outta Compton, along with Dre’s abuse of his ex-girlfriend, Michel'le with whom he has a child. Dre later released a public apology, although he didn’t mention Barnes or Michel'le directly. “I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives,” he said in a statement. He also addressed the beating in HBO's The Defiant Ones series in 2017. “I was out of my f**king mind at the time. I f**ked up. I paid for it. I’m sorry for it. And I apologized for it.I have this dark cloud that follows me, and it’s going to be attached to me forever. It’s a major blemish on who I am as a man, and every time it comes up, it just makes me feel f**ked up.”

Dre, whose birth name is Andre Young, pleaded no contest to assaulting Barnes. He was sentenced to probation and community service and went to become a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, Grammy-winning solo artist, and sought after producer. Meanwhile, Barnes was blacklisted from the music industry after she was attacked.

During a much happier moment in her Wendy Williams Show interview, Williams presented Barnes with a $15,000 check to help her get back on her feet, and offered her a book deal.

Watch the full interview below.

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Officials Name Tekashi 6ix9ine Affiliate Shooter In 2018 Barclays Shooting

Newly released documents from Tekashi 6ix9ine’s ongoing racketeering case have revealed more information about the rapper and his crew’s criminal history. According to the docs, the government has reportedly identified the “shooter” for the Nine Trey Gansta Bloods as Fuguan "Fubanger" Lovick.

Lovick is one of the six remaining defendants in the case (five have already pleaded guilty). Authorities suggest Lovick was the shooter in the incident that occurred at the Barclays Center during Adrien Broner’s fight in April 2018. Previous reports alleged that 6ix9ine’s crew got into an altercation with Casanova’s posse, which resulted in shots being fired.

"In addition to the surveillance video, which shows the defendant discharging a firearm inside the Barclays Center, cooperating witnesses will testify about the defendant’s role in Nine Trey, in particular as a shooter for the gang who almost always carried a firearm," the legal documents say.

In Mar. 2019, Lovick filed a motion to have his charges dismissed. He stated that his initial arrest for a traffic stop, which led to the discovery of a firearm, was illegal. On Wednesday (April 17), the government filed a memorandum defending the search.

Lovick's next hearing is set for April 30.

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Eva Marcille Tears Up As She Recalls Kevin McCall’s Alleged Abuse

Eva Marcille is opening up about her allegedly abusive relationship with ex, Kevin McCall, in light of the rapper’s recent arrest for domestic violence. The Real Housewives of Atlanta star stopped by The Rickey Smiley Show on Thursday (April 18), where she discussed the abuse she endured during and after her first pregnancy.

“It took me a lot of time to even be able to get up the courage to talk about it because it’s embarrassing,” she said. “Coming from where I come from and being as astute and courageous as I am, you always feel like, ‘it can never be me.’”

Marcille explained that she and McCall were not “really in love” before she became pregnant with their daughter, Marley. “It wasn’t a relationship that lasted long enough for me to really even know him,” she noted. Even so, it wasn’t long before their romance took a violent turn.

“[The abuse] didn’t start for me until I was pregnant with Marley. And then about a month after having Marley, it didn’t stop; it got worse,” she tearfully recalled. “And it got worse with her. The final straw was when Marley was actually in my arms once. And I was like, ‘I can’t do this no more.”

Marcille has since married someone else (she married Michael Sterling in Oct. 2018), but she suggested that her history with McCall is both triggering and relevant to this day.

As previously noted, McCall was arrested on Monday (April 15) for domestic violence against his current partner, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirms. The “Deuces” artist was charged with one felony of injuring a spouse or cohabitant. According to jail records, McCall was released on Tuesday (April 16) after posting a $75,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 30.

In regards to his latest case, Eva said that her sympathy lies with the alleged victim. “I feel sorry for that girl… I feel bad for women who have to deal with that,” she said. “It’s actually not a laughable matter. It’s something that makes you feel so little… I hope that they keep his ass in jail.”

Watch the clips from Eva Marcille’s latest interview below.

 

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#PressPlay: #EvaMarcille gets emotional detailing her abuse and speaks on her ex #KevinMcCall’s recent domestic violence arrest (SWIPE) Via @rickeysmileyofficial

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Apr 18, 2019 at 8:18am PDT

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