Azealia Banks Baauer

Azealia Banks and “Harlem Shake” producer Baauer are in a bit of a to-do over Banks’s remix of the song. Yesterday she posted her own version on SoundCloud, which Baauer had swiftly removed, prompting her to ask why he was “coccblocking.” Baauer’s reply — “cause its not ur song lol” — set Banks completely off the rails and she proceeded to call him a “faggot” and a “pussy,” suggesting he and his dance music cronies “grab each others dicks in a circle jerk” and that they should “drown in faggotry.”

Does this sound familiar? Banks has squabbled over both of these things before. First, regarding her unapproved usage with moombahton luminary Munchi over using his track “Esta Noche” on her Fantasea mixtape (although, Munchi, I’d like to see the paperwork where Montell Jordan gave you the clearance to sample “Get It On Tonite“) and more recently, after calling Perez Hilton the same homophobic epithet for defending Angel Haze in another(!), although squashed, beef. Azealia’s use of the word “faggot” has garnered her a lot of attention as a homophobe, despite the fact that she consistently defends her use claiming it is synonymous with “cowardly,” not as slur against gay people. She hasn’t quit using it on Perez, either, despite the beseeching of GLAAD. Naturally, he jumped into the conversation, tweeting at Banks and Baauer, “Classy as always! How does it feel to be better known for all your trash-talking than your music, Azealia? #TeamBauuer.”

Very recently, “Harlem Shake” moved from dance music hit record to fully viral in the mass consciousness, replete with videos on YouTube featuring everyone the Dallas Mavericks to everyone at your alma matter doing their own version of the dance. This dance, however, is not anything like the actual Harlem Shake. Other websites have gone into this matter and have failed to mention the rapper G. Dep who stratified the Harlem Shake with his track “Special Delivery.” This is not G. Dep’s Harlem Shake. What we’re seeing right now is the Harlememe Shake. But rappers are always wont to hop on something when it’s hot — do a quick Google search and you will find so many remixes and freestyles on top of Lloyd Banks’s “Beamers Benz Bentleys,” it will take your entire day to listen to and catalogue all of it. The current hotness of “Harlem Shake” — it is the number 2 single on iTunes as I am typing this — is surely what got Azealia to give it a spin herself.

Here’s what I find to be so totally weird about this issue: I don’t know how to categorize Azealia. Is she a rapper who loves dance music or a dance music artist who raps? She gets beats from Diplo, Hudson Mohawke, and Cubic Zirconia’s Nick Hook, but she also has featured Styles P. from the LOX on one of her tracks. With these musical leanings and an Uptown upbringing, “Harlem Shake” is a no-brainer for her to rhyme on. Baauer’s career, meanwhile, is deeply indebted to rap. He kicked off a niche genre — trap rave, for lack of better nomenclature — that is gleaned from Southern rap traditions made popular by T.I., Gucci Mane, and Young Jeezy. There are a lot of people who find the authenticity of trap rave to be totally specious, and here Baauer shows a dearth of knowledge about commonplace practices in hip-hop. Rappers do this all the time and Azealia stands to make no money off of her “Harlem Shake” remix. If he’s going to be appropriating from rap, he has to let rap appropriate from him, too. Having said that, Azealia’s language and definition choices are still super questionable.

Comments (27)
  1. Azealia gurl, you’ve a had hit single and a decent EP, but please stop acting like you run shit. You’re just coming off as a petulant mark ass trick. And please stop with homophobic shit, just because you got some gays in your posse don’t you have license to deride anyone you slightly dislike as a faggot.

  2. I don’t like arguing about acceptable uses of the f-word because despite being gay myself, I have a rather unpopular opinion on the topic. I will say this though, I do not believe dropping f-bombs are enough on their own to make some a homophobe – not in this day and age. I don’t think it’s good or preferable, but there are a lot more layers to the issue that kind of complicate it.
    That said, her word/insult choices here are a bit hard to defend, and I am speaking as someone who really likes Azealia and kind of hates Perez.

  3. This is so ridiculous. I think Azealia is great, but not even her supposed bisexuality makes it okay to call anyone a “faggot”. I understand hating Perez Hilton, as he is the penultimate internet troll, and I understand getting pissed at Baauer for being completely wrong in this situation, but using the other F word is not acceptable. Of course, some will say, “if Odd Future can get away with it, why not Miss Banks?” It isn’t cool for Tyler to say it, no matter how great he and the rest of the OF crew are, and it isn’t cool for Azealia to say it. It’s worth noting that Perez has said it before as well and it wasn’t alright then, no matter how much the masses hate Here’s hoping someone will either set Azealia straight about this or we’ll at least learn something about her that takes the edge off this topic, a la it’s a communal thing where she was raised or lives and it’s acceptable there, much like OF. Again, that won’t make it alright, but it makes it easier for people to ignore.

    All of this said, Baauer is clearly an idiot if he has never seen rappers freestyling over his beat. If it’s not acceptable for Azealia Banks, El-P, or any number of other rappers to rhyme on his beat, why is it okay for everyone with a phone or a webcam to upload a video of them dancing like idiots to his beat? Is he this frightened by free publicity that earns no one other than himself money? I’m sure this is just as big an issue in the hip-hop community as Azealia using saying “faggot” to others. In the NY hip-hop community there might even be some improper argument making it acceptable to call someone a “faggot”, but not letting everyone rap over your beat? Someone is going to get some serious hate over this, if not serious damage to their still young career.

    Last things on Azealia, all of this could also be stupid press activity. Are we really to believe that her label doesn’t monitor her actions? Would it be surprising to find her label is involved? How do you react to the bisexual woman from club culture using a derogatory word that she might be allowed to use by some unwritten rulebook? It would have been another thing entirely if she had used the term or something similar during the Angel Haze brouhaha, but perhaps she or her handlers are sharp enough to know that wouldn’t have been good? I read something where someone said Haze had bested Banks with both of her tracks, but only her first had truly devastating lines while her second sounded like the rant of a petulant child who couldn’t bother to record their response with anything beyond a micro-cassette recorded. Azealia’s rap wasn’t better, but her presentation certainly was and is. She’s smart enough to have made it this far, I’m sure none of these things are mistakes, so let’s take this all with a grain of salt. What more, while once again stating it’s not acceptable to use THAT WORD, would we care if it was a hard-nosed male rapper saying it in a freestyle or Twitter feud? Everything about “this” feels like there is a double-standard.

    • reading this, i have to wonder how tyler and azealia would react if white guys in beefing indie bands started calling each other “niggers,” with a definite tone of contempt to the word, and then followed that up by saying “ah, no man, has nothing to do with race – he’s just being a nigger is all.”

    • “All of this said, Baauer is clearly an idiot if he has never seen rappers freestyling over his beat. If it’s not acceptable for Azealia Banks, El-P, or any number of other rappers to rhyme on his beat, why is it okay for everyone with a phone or a webcam to upload a video of them dancing like idiots to his beat?”


      • Eh, if it’s his beat, I guess he can be blind to those he finds acceptable using his beats. I mean if I made a worldwide phenomenon and I owned rights to it, I’d totally let El-P mix that shit and tell Banks to step off. Only because I’m a jerk, but whatever.

  4. “I don’t know how to categorize Azealia. Is she a rapper who loves dance music or a dance music artist who raps?”

    no, she’s a child who also happens to be an asshole. this whole idea that you can say homophobic slurs and then say it’s okay because you’re bisexual or whatever bullshit is a load of grade a GARBAGE. tyler the creator reasoning is dumb. fucking stupid dumb.

    The issue here isn’t whether of not baauer should have been a cooler bruh or whatever, it’s her complete and utter lack of emotional regulation. you’ve got some time before you hit that enter/send button. use that time to give your head a shake and choose a response that doesn’t offend an entire group of people. what are you, thick?!

    done with this girl. “buh-bye”

  5. It’s like OK, her remix was actually kinda good and it seems petty for Baauer to have it removed, but she does sort of seem like an immature jerk. As for the f word, I agree with a previous commenter who said said it’s complicated. I heard about someone in Chris Brown’s camp calling Frank Ocean a ‘faggot’ during their altercation and it’s offensive in that context. But I see Tyler use the word ‘faggot’ in a caption for an instagram photo of him and Earl eating hot pockets, and it’s not offensive at all. Hard to say whether something is right or wrong when you could argue that it depends on the context. But either way it still carries the weight of super hostile homophobia, which makes it bad in any context. I’m also gay and get a lot of shit from gay friends for being an Odd Future fan. I personally would never use that word. I dunno man. Tough one.

  6. ugh she’s so trashy. And not like “kinda cool I hang out with Wayne Coyne” trashy.

  7. somethin’ ’bout Kreay.

  8. Azealia Banks overall just kind of puts me off. She doesn’t compose any music, she just picks songs to sing and rap over. And she reeeeeeaaally lets her fame get to her

  9. In her own words “I’m gonna ruin you cunt.’ But in this case she’s talking to herself & will be forgotten quickly or at least loathed like Courtney Love(who I still adore). Don’t get me wrong, I like Azealea’s music but she’s quickly becoming better known for her hater antics which won’t stick in people’s heads like shutting the fuck up & just making good tunes will. She needs a good publicist, or more appropriately, a muzzle. Or both.

  10. Oh shit, Banks just went there herself. Claiming that “nigger” is an “accepted colloquialism” — uuh among klansmen maybe.

  11. Azealia version is the shit ….. i be jamming

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