Azealia Banks Talks Life Before “212”

Harlem femcee Azealia Banks is never one to hold her tongue.

In her recent interview with Paper, the mag’s covergirl reminisced on life before her mega hit “212” dropped.

“Nobody was listening to my music. I had been dropped from [the English record label] XL. My manager dropped me. My boyfriend left me,” Banks recalls. “I was starting to accept that my career was never gonna happen. So the song was just me, like, ‘F**k y’all. Y’all not gonna help me? I’m gonna get it myself.”

The “Liquorice” rapstress recently performed a disappearing act from Twitter after her manager Troy Carter, who had worked with Lady Gaga, was reportedly spreading stories about her and fired. The separation fueled a series of tweet rants from Banks about never relying on a man to manage her. Regardless of the setback (and the alleged beef between her and other lady spitter Iggy Azalea), she sees herself as part of a new budding crop of artists set to take over.

“The music industry is like a machine. It’s always going, and this new generation of artists—me, A$AP Rocky, Rita Ora—we’re the fuel that’s keeping it going. And once you get in that machine you’ve gotta run with it,” she said. “There’s a crazy inertia that’s been going for years and years and years, and it’s not gonna stop for you, so you’ve gotta keep fu**ing working. The minute you stop working, that’s when you get stuck in the gears. And that’s when it grinds you up and spits you out.”

After getting personally-designed sweaters from fashion god Karl Lagerfeld and receiving praise from Kanye West, Banks says the most important lesson she’s learned has been staying focused on her craft. “

The music is what’s important. These people are not gonna wanna talk to you if you don’t have music; they’re not gonna be interested,” Banks said. “And your star is not always gonna be as bright. So you really have to seize the day.”