Azealia Banks has practically become synonymous with controversy. From her highly publicized Twitter beefs and assault allegations to her homophobic remarks and chicken sacrifices, the 26-year-old’s unruly behavior has made more headlines than her actual music. In an extensive interview with XXL, Banks admits she is disappointed by her actions, but also disappointed in the industry for shutting her out.
“I’m definitely shut out from where I was, 100 percent. People are very scared to be associated with me because of, you know, the controversy, I guess the skin bleaching or the ‘sand nigger’ or the ‘faggot’ thing. I’m not sad about it, I’m not disappointed at the situation. I’m disappointed with myself for sure,” she explained. “I’m a little disappointed in them, but not really.”
Banks went on to talk about the double standard she’s witnessed in the music world—a world that easily forgives male artists for their slip-ups. She pointed to people like Kanye West, XXXTentacion, and R. Kelly, whose talent seemed to override their controversies.
“I guess the source of my disappointment comes from just watching lots of other men in hip-hop, just like male rappers, have their career setbacks and go through things,” she said. “Or even when a Black male rapper misspeaks something … just seeing Black men go through the motions, seeing the Black mass just kind of seemingly accepting it as just an attribute of their artistry.”
Furthermore, she claimed one of her biggest disadvantages was being an outsider from the very beginning. Banks said she never had any “real rap friends” while she was making a name for herself, and she never felt like anyone was in her corner. Because of this, Banks said she began to act out and misdirect her frustrations.
“I basically came in the building by myself. There was nobody to validate me, there was nobody to vouch for me or whatever, and I got mishandled a lot,” she said. “It made me really bitter for a very long time, very, very, very bitter, so bitter to the point that I would just kind of say things that I didn’t mean, like, ‘I hate Black men’ and shit like that. I would just say things like that because I would just feel so misunderstood. It was all purposeful, like when T.I. was threatening me with physical violence or when Jim Jones was threatening me with physical violence. Come on, hip-hop should have said something about it, and nobody said anything about it.”
Banks also discussed a wide range of topics, including her evolution as an artist, her love for Cardi B, the sexualization of female MCs, and parting ways with Polydor Records. You can read the full interview at XXL’s website.