Even though Q-Tip doesn’t have quite the name recognition of complete mainstream crossovers like Jay-Z or Kanye West, his name evokes a strong reaction among those who have heard his controversy-laden lyrics. That’s something Q-Tip is now mirroring in his public life by entering the fray stirred by long-simmering drama between Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea.
The Azalea-Azealia war reached a fever pitch last week, when Banks called out Iggy in an interview for not making a statement regarding the decision not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner. The more prominent Azalea responded that the other Azealia used her to name because it’s the “only time she gets press.”
Even though Banks has been embroiled in dozens of battles with other artists, her criticism of Iggy in particular does speak to a particular core issue that has been expressed by many other black hip-hop artists about Azalea’s mimicking of black culture. Q-Tip is one of several artists who have pointed out that the music represents more than mere commercial potential, and that artists like Azalea need to acknowledge that.
“HipHop is a artistic and socio-political movement/culture that sprang from the disparate ghettos of NY in the early 70’s Coming off the heels of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT and approaching the end of the Vietnam war it was a crossroads 4 America specially for blacks in the US our neighborhoods were PROLIFERATED w/a rush of HEROINE.”
Q-Tip’s full response spanned more than 40 tweets, in which he attempted to piece together why he feels that the essential blackness of hip-hop is important to take into account, even when being strung together to create an image, as seems to have happened in Iggy’s case. Rappers like Banks and Q-Tip are more aware of this, which is why he says that Azalea’s response has irked many.
“Our families were rushed our schools sucked and we were left to put devices to survive… but HIPHOP showed that we had DEPTH, fire, and BRILLANCE… the music was undeniable! It moved from NY N became national and even GLOBAL.”
Even if you agree with the gist of Azealia’s original critique of Iggy, it’s hard to say she handled it with much grace. Q-Tip, on other hand, was careful to note that he didn’t want Azalea to feel under attack by his statement on the situation. That detail is a testament to Q-Tip’s contribution to the conversation, and even something Banks could walk away with from the situation.
“I say this 2 say u are a hiphop artist who has the right 2 express herself however she wishes… this is not a chastisement this is not admonishment at ALL this is just one artist reaching to another hoping to spark insight into the field you r in. I say this in the spirit of a hopeful healthy dialogue that maybe one day we can continue”
Do you think Q-Tip was right about the Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks polemic?
[Image via YouTube and HTBackdrops]