Open Letter to Azealia Banks
Your interview with Ebro, your beef with Kendrick, T.I. and Iggy, and your public Twitter war with Lupe piqued my curiosity and compelled me to reach out to you directly. You’re everywhere these days. Half of the posts on my Facebook timeline are about you, Azealia Banks. Music blogs report every little thing you say and everything you tweet, hyping up the drama, but overlooking the deeper points you make. As a Hip Hop culture critic and writer, I’m much more interested in those deeper points that cornball bloggers and dime-a-dozen racists seem to gloss over.
Truth is, I didn’t know much about your music except for that “212” joint you dropped a few years ago. It wasn’t really my thing. I’m more of a traditionalist so if it’s not Boom Bap Hip Hop, heavy on dusty chopped up samples and grimy kicks and snares, it usually doesn’t resonate with me. But out of fairness, I decided to check out your latest project before writing this letter and sharing my unsolicited 2 cents. While your album didn’t really move me, as someone who grew up with House music, I respect what you’re doing and recognize that it’s light years ahead of the trash on the radio. But at the end of the day, I’m just not the audience for it.
With that said, after having read countless comments from people calling you crazy, a bitch, a dumb hoe, and other derogatory terms for simply voicing your mind, I want to let you know that I’m proud of you for boldly speaking up about the bullshit plaguing mainstream rap music. Too many popular rappers use their platform to spread mindless gossip rather than sharing thought-provoking ideas. Everything you’ve been saying about Iggy, cultural misappropriation, and the state of Black culture is worthy of public discourse and likely to motivate your fans to do some research…even if the part about Black people being “Naturally Born Seers, Diviners, Witches and Wizards” may confuse a whole lot of folks.
While your delivery may be “rough around the edges”, given a little bit of time and experience, I trust you’ll be able to express your views in a much more polished manner. Still, I agree with your stance on Iggy. I agree with your perspective on the watering-down of rap music. I agree with everything you said regarding Black culture around the world being erased. This shit has been going on for a long time. And for many years now, rap artists have been silenced, muted, neutered, and verbally castrated by mainstream media for speaking about social issues and challenging the status quo . It’s good to know that things are changing with artists like you leading the way.
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