Hip Hop's Frustration with Iggy Azalea

It’s been a trying few days for TI’s protege, Iggy Azalea. However, it’s not like many people (myself included) have that much sympathy for her.  But before I get into any opinions, here’s what’s been going down in the hip hop world.

Technically, this firestorm had been a long time brewing; I don’t know the full details, but I know Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea had been going at it for some time now, with it always ending with TI coming to her defense.

This time around, the battle got started when Banks revealed to Ebro on Hot 97 just what her beef with Azalea is actually founded upon, which she called a “cultural smudging”:

Yes, I know Banks doesn’t have a filter on Twitter and she’s said some wild things herself. But what she said about appropriation is, in my opinion on point, and apparently hit a chord with a lot of people. The interview quickly became an internet sensation, despite what Azalea tweeted back in retaliation against Banks:

More often than not, musicians ranging from Q-Tip to Solange to Tyler, the Creator and others gave their two cents in support of Banks:

 

And Kreayshawn, another white rapper, came out against Azalea as well, alluding that Azalea should learn as much about Australia’s racism as she should America’s:

While Will.I.Am and Lupe Fiasco  wrote this in defense of Azalea:

And of course, TI responded himself, but in this case, he responded to Q-Tip:

 

Which led to a sound bashing on Twitter with the hashtag #WhenTipTweets. Needless to say, people went hard:

Even Anonymous got in the mix, threatening the release of a rumored sex tape if Azalea didn’t apologize to Banks. This got Anonymous banned from Twitter.

So what do I think about this? Well, I feel like there is a place for white rappers (with important stipulations, which I will get into later in this post). Iggy Azalea can fit in. But, it’s tough for a white rapper to fit in when they’re spouting some racist-sounding tweets like those pictured and other troublesome things. Also, people have not forgotten that “runaway slave master” lyric she said in her song “D.R.U.G.S.” (which she did apologize for, to be fair).

There have always been a discussion about appropriation in hip hop and if white rappers are taking the genre seriously or if they’re just acting the part, as is argued to have been the case with Vanilla Ice. Just take a look at this tense interview he had on The Arsenio Hall Show.

It’s worth noting that Vanilla Ice’s decision to trot out Flavor Flav as his human “black card” is similar to how Azalea has TI in her corner.

But, I think there’s been a touch more urgency added to the equation this time around. I would argue that the opinions about appropriation are so heated because almost every black person in high and low positions alike have been rudely awakened by the events in Ferguson, Staten Island, and Cleveland. The killings of black men and women have just angered people to the point of taking no prisoners when it comes to (forgive the political incorrectness) white people acting black. As Paul Mooney always says, “Everyone wants to be black, but nobody wants to be black.” Sadly, it’s true, and the evidence is all over hip hop and rap.

There are some white rappers in the game who know what kind of culture they’re in. But there are others who don’t and a lot of people feel like Azalea is one of those rappers. Those rappers want to be “black,” with “black” meaning “cool” and “swag”, but no one wants to be “black,” as in, an actual member of a people who have been subjugated for centuries. No one wants to take that kind of mantle.

But, if you want to act “black,” you should know you’re signing up to learn as much as you can about the actual lives of black people, because actual black life isn’t Rolexes and posturing and “What it do?” all the time. There’s actual life, such as buying groceries and having to keep your hands out of your pockets so folks won’t think you’re stealing, or being told by your parents to be the best you can be so people won’t have any reason to criticize your abilities. If you want to be “black,” then really be about it. As Aladdin said to Jafar when Jafar wanted to become a genie, “You want it? You got it, and everything that comes with it.” “Everything,” in Jafar’s case, was being trapped in a lamp for eons. Black people’s “everything” is being at the butt of racism and subjugation, intentional or unintentional.

Also, if you’re going to be a white rapper, you should not only love and learn about black culture and the actual tribulations of black life, but you should also support and stand with black causes, such as this whole mess with police brutality. Azalea can worry about beef with Banks, and yet we’ve heard not one peep from her about uplifting her black fans who are suffering from this time of sanctioned injustice, outside of one tweet that, as The YBF points out, was more in response to Banks calling her out on not tweeting about Ferguson than it was about actual feeling.

Azalea responded to everything with a series of tweets, stating that she found Q-Tip’s tweets to be “patronizing” and asserting that she does know a lot about the culture she’s participating in. She, like everyone else, is entitled to her opinions. But she’s also got to see where people are coming from. It’s not a light thing to call yourself a “runaway slave master.” A non-black person will never be that “down” with the race to say that (being politically incorrect again).

These are just my two cents. At the end of the day, rap and hip hop does have its roots in revolution, and that fact should be respected by everyone in the genre.

What do you think about this news? Give your opinions below!

Screencap of Iggy Azalea in her music video for Fancy