Azealia Banks’ VIBE Cover Story
Right, but not every 21-year-old newbie has the balls to publicly mouth off at T.I. Were you raised to be this fearless?
My mother was always like, “Anybody say something you don’t like, punch them in the mouth. Do it!” [Laughs] If I had a fight, when she came home I would get another ass whupping just for being a little bird. And she’d be like, “Why you letting these people bring you down?” I was a really fresh little girl, always arguing back, trying lipstick on, trying to shake my ass—knowing in the back of my head I’m gonna get fucked up [by my mother]. But fuck it, I wanna get fucked up.
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 [tweet] 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.