In a time when artists arguably have a greater platform than ever to speak their minds, New York-born rapper Azealia Banks refuses to let anyone shut her up. The 25-year-old has become infamous for her constant commentary on everything from the appropriation of hip-hop to the falseness of Beyoncé. If you think taking shots at Queen Bey is blasphemy, you probably won't like what Banks stands for, which is saying whatever the fuck she wants.
And I mean whatever. The woman has no chill, which has gotten her into some hot water but also earned her a diehard throng of followers who love her precisely for her brashness. To help you determine which side of the fence you fall on, here are some of her most high-profile beefs to date.
This was technically caused by a miscommunication when Banks reacted, shall we say, passionately to a fake online article that quoted Palin as saying slavery wasn't forced on African-Americans—which, to be fair, doesn't sound like too much of a stretch for Palin. Upon hearing that the quote was fabricated, Banks apologized, but Palin didn't accept and instead threatened to sue for defamation, to which Banks responded, "My only mistake was insinuating that SP might have sex with anyone but her cousin."
Even hip-hop's critical darling isn't safe from Banks' wrath. King Kendrick drew her ire when, in an interview with Billboard, he said black people have to respect themselves before police could. It's an extremely complex issue, so I won't begin to determine who was right here. What I do know is that, somehow, corny Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco joined the convo and, amid all the headiness, got called a "spicy taco" by Banks.
This is an example of Banks at her worst. After accusing the former One Direction band member of stealing elements from one of her music videos, Malik responded via a subtweet, leading Banks to fire back with multiple homophobic and racist slurs. Malik, who's of Pakistani descent, shrugged it off—as many of Banks' sparring partners do—but the dweebs at Twitter weren't as passive and promptly suspended Banks' account. Let this be a lesson: Even the blue check mark can't shield you from the repercussions of being a dick.
It's never a good idea to get in an argument with a child. Banks evidently hasn't learned that lesson, because soon after the Malik incident, she got into it with 14-year-old actress Skai Jackson. After Jackson told her to "simmer down a little," Banks responded by calling her a "thot in training." Jackson's reaction, which I imagine she typed out from a bejeweled throne being carried by overgrown manservants, was perfect: "Worry about your career. Get one." Finally, Banks has a worthy opponent. REED JACKSON.
SEE IT: Azealia Banks plays Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., on Friday, July 8. 8 pm. $32.50 advance, $35 day of show. All ages.