Azealia Banks Vs. The World

Azealia Banks Vs. The World

Conor McDonald


First things first. While I am of the belief that Azealia Banks does not deserve the attention she is getting from the media, I realise it is somewhat of an oxymoron that I'm putting in the effort into writing about her and allowing her to grind my gears.

Nevertheless, here we go. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last five or so years, Azealia Banks is a rapper from Harlem in New York City. She is best known for her 2011 expletive ridden one hit wonder, 212, and for going on similarly expletive ridden rants on Twitter.  

Whether it's the racist rants on Twitter directed at the likes of former One Direction member Zayn Malik, to her infamous run in with Russell Crowe, Banks has made a name for herself as an unpredictable, dangerous and unwanted media influence. Contrary to her history of almost illiterate, morally questionable and downright insane tweets would have you believe, Banks is quite smart.

Banks is and has been attempting to create a social media façade, where she is forever persecuted by whichever evil seems convenient to her at the time. She knows exactly what cards she thinks she is playing order to appeal to her fans. Who those fans are at this point, I'm not quite sure. I think it's somewhere between the type of people who shop at Hot Topic or Supré in a not ironic fashion and some distorted PC digital brigade searching for the next example to post in the latest Buzzfeed article '10 times Azealia Banks Was Actually A Feminist'.

The irony of me writing this on a website that could be considered as 'Buzzfeed-Lite' is not lost on me. But whatever. 

Azealia Banks could have easily pulled this off too, and for a large part it worked. She continued to tour the world for years after 212 and her debut album, 'Broke With Expensive Taste' released in 2014...which featured the previously mentioned 212 as a lead single. 

Here's a quick tip. If an album includes an artist's hit single that was released two years before that album, chances are that artist is damn desperate. 

However Banks is prone to regular lapses of judgement. Luckily for us, the faceless masses of the Internet, we were allowed glimpses at the real Azealia Banks, a confused young artist who is clinging onto her 15 minutes by using Twitter to drag it out to 5 years.

Yes, an artist who built her career rapidly off her Twitter account is now watching it dissipate just as fast thanks to an inability to control herself before pressing the 'Tweet' button.

I have lost count of the endless tweets where a mundane event turns into Banks playing the victim, acting like a spoiled five year old, and plays the gender/race card when anyone questions her behaviour. Her transparency is blinding, and unfortunately for her, people aren’t as stupid as she thinks they are.

Inspirational women, from the likes of Michelle Obama to Beyonce, do not portray themselves on social media as Banks does. Instead, these women strive to find more productive solutions to combat the evident social injustices of gender inequality. 212, whilst unarguably a catchy anthem, relies heavily on the shock factor of Banks’s blasé use of socially unacceptable language. She expects people to be stunned by her lyrics, and they are...the first time they hear it. This is the perfect formula for a one hit wonder, but not the foundation for a successful career.

Banks has relied on this method to set a foundation for her career with most of her songs following a similar rough outline on her debut album. Unfortunately for her, the novelty of bad language soon wore thin, and her music was viewed for the production value it has. In the age of the Internet where it seems everyone has a voice, Banks lost hers.

Nonetheless I can help but wonder, would Azealia Banks' behaviour be tolerated if she had the musical quality to back it up? Also, how do we separate disparaging someone who discusses confrontational issues because they make us feel uncomfortable against someone who just behaves like an idiot? 

As I finish up this piece, contemplating recent world events, I can't say I'm exactly comforted by the conclusion I reached. 

However, that's a discussion for another today. 

For the moment, settle on this. Azealia Banks, a button pushing social media manipulator whose fiery temperament has split open the façade she worked so hard for. Another sad story of an artist who fell through the cracks attempting to cling onto the spotlight.


The Collective