Azealia Banks - VIBE Magazine (Full Cover Story, August 2012 Issue)
VIBE: You’ve come a long way since riding the Uptown 4 train. How are your peers reacting to your early success?
AZEALIA BANKS: The energy I’m getting is kinda, “Yo, what up?” and keep it moving. There’s no like… I don’t know.
Why do you think there’s hesitance?
Because I’m kinda this UFO that floats above wide ground. And nobody really gets it, but they see this weird floating object there [laughs]. When I spoke to Missy, she was like, “Yo, where did you come from?” Because you usually see people on their come up.
And now people are waiting to see if the UFO will crash?
Sometimes it is scary because you drop down in this territory where people feel like it’s their space. So then it’s kinda like, “Errr, hi…” And they don’t know how to react to you, and you don’t really know how to react to them. But they like your shit and you respect their shit. And it’s cool.
Besides feeling territorial, there are folks who take the hierarchal, respect-your-elders adage very seriously. Is that voided once someone disses you?
When people come at my head it doesn’t faze me enough to be sad. It’s just, “Listen motherfucker, let me tell you about yourself and what I got and am about to get. You’re trying to knock me off my feet; I’m trying to stand tall, ’cause I’m here for a reason. I wasn’t even thinking about y’all, y’all came at me.”
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.