Azealia Banks Talks T.I., Lil’ Kim & Nicki Minaj

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Azealia Banks continues to make one thing certain: If you ask her for your opinion, she’s going to give it to you straight, no chaser. The refreshingly candid and increasingly rising rapper didn’t mince words in her new VIBE cover story. Banks was asked on her thoughts about the likes of Lil’ Kim and T.I. and refused to relent on past comments about either. She did however, offer a bit of support to Nicki Minaj from rap critics who assail her for bridging pop and hip-hop. Maybe those two can work it out?

Check out the excerpts below:

Do you think your American buzz so far has been built more off controversy than music?
Of course, because Americans are distracted by sh*t like that. It’s like, “Listen, T.I., if I was a f*cking 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 sh*t.

Continue.
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 f*ck about y’all. All I’m doing is giving y’all n*ggas exposure. So if you notice I’ve backed up off Twitter the past days [laughs].

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 sh*t 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.

So you’re not weary of wavering between pop and hip-hop after seeing the side eyes Nicki received?
Not at all. The hip-hop world is used to a certain lifestyle that Nicki Minaj and me are trying to escape from. It’s weird because they like you when they can still see you, but once you try to ascend, it’s like, “What. The. F*ck?” Because they can’t reach you anymore, and they’re not rising with you. They miss that comfort and it takes a while to get used to it, but eventually they’ll understand. That’s the power of art. Art pushes culture and forward thinking. Right now, if you listen to Nicki, she’s really making good pop music and is definitely up there with Gaga and Katy—exactly where she wants to be. But the hip-hop world maybe didn’t know that’s where she wanted to be [laughs].

Read the cover story in full over at VIBE.com.

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