White Female Rapper: New Wave in Hip Hop or Pure Minstrelsy?

March 14, 2012  |  

Yesterday I was reading a post on Necole Bitchie about a beef between two lady rappers. No, not Nicki and Kim.  That’s tired. But Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks.  Haven’t heard of them?

Well, honestly if not for the totally hip people in my Facebook network, I probably wouldn’t know who they were either. Certainly, this is not an indictment on their music or talent. I’m just old – just saying.

Anyway, Iggy Azalea is a platinum blonde White rapper, hailing from down under (Australia), who has taken the industry by storm with her debut underground single that is so racy that we can’t even post the title of the song in this post. Let’s just say that it is an overused euphemism for a female’s private part. Iggy, who has a deal with Interscope records, has gotten the official co-sign from T.I. and his Grand Hustle family, who will be executive producing her official debut album.

And Azealia Banks (seriously, what is up with the identical names? I’m confusing myself here) is a dark brown skinned Black female rapper, originating from Harlem, who too has an underground smash hit called 212, which too features another colorful euphemism about one’s private part in its hook. Nevertheless Banks is blowing up, despite not officially being signed to a major label (she is signed to a subsidiary of Interscope Records) and has the endorsement of Kanye West, who proclaimed her “the future of music” earlier this year.

It appears that these women both have a great musical future ahead of them so what’s the beef?  If you haven’t figured out yet, here’s a hint: it’s race-related.

You see, Azalea has recently become the world’s first female rapper to make XXL Magazine’s “Freshmen Class” list, which honors up and coming rappers to watch. Naturally this perplexed a number of folks including Banks, who expressed her outrage through a series of tweets, saying that Azalea’s placement on the XXL freshman list is all wrong.

Said Banks, “How can you endorse a white woman who called herself a ‘runaway slave master’?  Sorry guys. But I’m pro black girl. I’m not anti white girl, but I’m also not here for any1 outside of my culture trying to trivialize very serious aspects of it.” The runaway slave line, which Azealia is referencing, is a quote from Azalea’s track “D.R.U.G.S.” in which the Australian raps: “Tire marks, tire marks/Finish line with the fire marks/When the relay starts/I’m a runaway slave…master.” Yeah, I have no idea what that means either. Perhaps it is because I am old. Just saying.

When asked to respond to Bank’s remarks, Iggy said, “This is my day and it’s my achievement. You have to work to have your own achievements, with all due respect. Instead of worrying about who else is on there, you should just be happy that I’m on there as a woman for women, and if you want to have your own achievement, work and have your own achievement. “

I guess not wanting to leave his artist out there, especially before he had a chance to cash in, T.I. too had a response to Banks, saying that: “Strategically if she really cares about a freshmen cover maybe she could hope that she’ll suck enough to get shelved and then next year when the freshmen cover comes back around, maybe she’ll still be a freshman. If you spend half of your day getting money and the other half of your day counting money, you ain’t got no time in your day to worry about nobody else.”

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