The Azealia Banks versus T.I. beef goes back a ways so we’ll refresh your memories. Iggy Azealia made XXL’s annual Frehsman list in 2012, prompting the Harlem rapper to hit those always ready Twitter streets: “Iggy Azalea on the XXL freshman list is all wrong. How can you endorse a white woman who calls herself a runaway slave master?! In any capacity *kanye shrug*," Banks concluded.
Later that year, T.I. addressed the situation on DJ Drama’s Hot 107.9 Radio show out of Atlanta in typical Tip fashion, “Strategically if she really cares about a freshmen cover maybe she could hope that, you know, 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." Ouch.
Iggy then made the statement that maybe Azealia “should just be happy I'm on there as a women, for women. And if you want to have an achievement, work, and earn your own achievements. I can't take what's meant for you and you can't take what's meant for me." And, after some Tweets wherein she tried to call out T.I. by saying “it’s dead… The streets already know what kind of dude you are,” and such, we thusly find ourselves here with a front row seat.
Twitter & Azealia Banks Play the Dozens On Twitter
Andre: Our resident teller of uncomfortable half/maybe/almost/never truths is back up to her old antics antagonizing an easy mark in T.I., who, for some reason, cannot let people run off at the mouth without getting involved. No matter. His recent rebuttal to Azealia’s low slung shade, which she promptly lobbed via Twitter and then tried to hide her hand, was a dirty bomb of T.I. level proportions as he called her a “musty-mouthed-thot.” Which, I must say, is not something I’d ever thought to say until right then, so there’s a reason why T.I. has his millions. And of course he’s protecting Tiny from a slick assault on her character, but there’s really no reason to address Azealia publicly. I mean, what does he have to gain? Though, Banks’ album does conspicuously drop July 11… supposedly. She’s had to deal with numerous push backs from her label and even threatened to leak Fantasea II: The Second Wave earlier in the year. So the timing is just ripe for her name to get back in the news. In that way, she might be the 50 Cent of her lane, though without the Diamond-studded album to go with it.
I can’t imagine what it would have been like if micro-communication was available in the 90’s. Maybe it would have been a great way to keep things illusory. I mean, if you’re airing out your frustrations via a digital platform, maybe you’ve dealt with it in a healthier way than pulling out guns or getting into physical altercations.The ‘90s were rife with this kind of beef getting settled in person and it was bad news for everyone. T.I. comes out of that ilk, though, where everything must be met with an overwhelming amount of force. But, I’d say those days are past. At least in an industry and with an audience that values image over reputation. For him, these miniature trysts are moot points made landmines. So unless this was a calculated move, I hope Troubleman can learn to ignore this stuff in the future.
Omar: The first Hip Hop beefs I can coherently remember in vivid detail were all N.W.A related. Ice Cube’s “No Vaseline” may go down in history as one of my favorite diss tracks ever. Being the naïve, impressionable 11-year-old I was at the time, I took sides. I couldn’t deny the appeal of N.W.A’s music while watching “Alwayz Into Something” on Fox’s lone Hip Hop show, Pump It Up. But to me, Cube was the protagonist in the story, and hearing Dre refer to his former partner as “your bitch O’Shea” over high synths was a guilty pleasure. I always figured a beef wasn’t really a beef unless it made you abandon all adult logic and choose a side (or it made you ask your enemies to start your Jeep). That’s why you can always find someone willing to engage in the age-old Jay Z (“Takeover”) versus Nas (“Ether”) beef, even though all participants have pretty much reconciled. Of course, I think Notorious B.I.G. versus Tupac Shakur will always be cautionary tale about what happens when beef goes too far, as Hip Hop as both a culture and a musical genre for letting their deaths happen on our watch.
But, aside from the occasional scuffle between Joe Budden and Raekwon, I agree with you; those types of beefs are extinct. Now what we have are viral videos and tweets that soon get deleted. As a guy in my 30s, I guess I look at today’s e-beefs the way old heads probably looked at the clip of that Eazy-E impersonator doing the Running Man with a “Will Rap For Food” sign at the end of “Fuck Wit Dre Day.” I think the fact that we forgot what even sparked the T.I./Azealia Banks beef pretty much sums up the triviality of the whole situation. At the very least, a good beef should inspire some decent songs. But as hilarious as it is seeing Tip calling Azealia a “musty mouthed thot” and her subsequent replies, this is far from beef. This shit is like two kids sitting in the back of the school bus trading “yo mama” jokes. Hopefully there’s an event or a track that shifts the focus back on Azealia’s music—the kind of music that had her getting love from XXL, GQ and other outlets. T.I. is a 13-year veteran, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume he has better things to do than engage in a viral beef with someone 10 years his junior. I do. So I’m gonna wrap this up and go watch Eazy-E’s “Real Muthaphukkin G’s” for nostalgia’s sake.
Justin: “MUSTY-MOUTHED-THOT!!” Now, that’s an incredible T-Shirt! I don’t know who would wear it. It’s hard to imagine a gaggle of recent female graduates traipsing down Myrtle Beach boasting their musty-mouthed-thot-ness. Maybe a frat rapper would rock it in a music video or show up on the Internet in one of those always on time, post-Halloween Black-faced party pictures everyone gets so pissed about annually. I dunno. I just know it’s a great T-Shirt, even if the audience isn’t immediately identifiable (imagine it in Helvetica list style: "Musty & Mouthed & Thot & Bot").
That phrase isn’t going anywhere, though. It stings like “Nappy-headed hoes” on a much smaller level, minus the disgusting racial undertones. Rappers worldwide are gonna find fresh ways to kick those 16 characters in a rhyme (15 if you hashtag it). The meme-machine is already in pre-production. It’s absolutely Boondocks-ready, absolutely something you can see spewing from the musty-mouth of Colonel H. StinkMeaner, riotously offensive in every connotation.
There are a few hilariously offensive darts tossed in this round of lame e-dissing. Banks’ “Meth mouth” isn’t a shabby retort by any means, though it’s clearly a derivative of “musty-mouth.” “Busted bumpkin” and “Meth face” sound especially lazy in comparison, but she did drop a solid height joke at the right point in the Twitter feed to get the Battle Rap audience chuckling (“I stood next to you ON PURPOSE. To see if you would say something...I’m taller than you in my heels"). Tip’s “bad-body-syphilis-lipped-rectum-vomit”-part, though? That was disgustingly disrespectful—definitely crosses the line, definitely loses points for that one.
Honestly, Azealia comes away looking the most evolved in this conversation. She raises an interesting point. T.I. hasn’t gone to jail a million times, but certainly often enough to look corny charging at a female whose career has barely left the Internet. It’s one thing to be associated with police standoffs outside Supperclub. It’s another thing to rumble with Floyd “Money” Mayweather because he’s apparently too close to your wife. But to come off a Fat Burger fight with the undisputed Light Middleweight Champion of the World in one month only to follow up by e-threatening to “end” AZEALIA BANKS in the next (ALL OVER THE SAME WOMAN) is possibly the wackest series of events in T.I.’s prison-ridden career. Needless to say, I hope he tightens up before things careen more unfortunately. T.I.’s one of the most important emcees of the past decade. But what can I say that hasn’t already been broken down here.
Justin "The Company Man" Hunte is the Editor-in-Chief of HipHopDX. He was the host of The Company Man Show on PNCRadio.fm and has covered music, politics, and culture for numerous publications. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter @TheCompanyMan.
Omar Burgess is a Long Beach, California native who has contributed to various magazines, newspapers and has been an editor at HipHopDX since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @omarburgess.
Andre Grant is an NYC native turned L.A. transplant who’s contributed to a few different properties on the web and is now the Senior Features Writer for HipHopDX. He’s also trying to live it to the limit and love it a lot. Follow him on Twitter @drejones.