Take The Meat And Throw Away The Bones: Azealia Banks Is Right About Cardi B (BLOG & PODCAST)

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Azealia Banks is not well liked and it's understandable. But I'm tryna figure out what lie did she tell about Cardi B? Last week, the Harlem femcee visited The Breakfast Club radio show and was asked about everyone's new favorite female rapper, Cardi B and the state of women in hip-hop/rap. Banks basically stated that Cardi B is a "caricature of Black women" and does things Black women would never be able to get away with. While there's a debate on whether or not Cardi B is being genuine, the fact that she was able to shoot to the top so quickly is what I want to touch on.

I'm going to keep it a "g", it's pure insanity that Cardi B, who was never a serious rapper to begin with, was able to make it to the top over numerous, talented (Black) women in hip-hop and rap who have been serious about their craft and put in work over the years, as Banks stated "real bitches who push their pen." Back in 2010, I thought folks were rolling out the red carpet for Nicki Minaj, especially seeing that many were playing dumb on why Lil' Kim was upset with her. Even Rolling Stone magazine dubbed her "the new queen of hip-hop" not even a month after her debut album, Pink Friday released. Despite the major rump kissing the industry was giving Nicki when she first stepped on the scene, Nicki worked her ass off for years as an underground rapper while Cardi came up as a rapper out the blue. It's a slap in the face to serious emcees and rappers. A similar trend is occurring in the male rapper field where mumble rappers have went to the top so quickly.

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Photo: Rolling Stone
However, when it comes to men in hip-hop/rap, they're the majority, they outnumber women in hip-hop, and there's more versatility and different sub-genres being presented to the mainstream. (The keyword here is "mainstream".) You can get a semi-conscious Kendrick Lamar and a party rapper like Future. Look in the field with female rappers and Nicki Minaj was the only mainstream artist for a good 6-7 years, and now it seems like the industry is attempting to replace her with Cardi B. And nobody sees a problem with this? But I'm the crazy one for pointing this out?

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Last year and in a recent response to the "Bodak Yellow" rapper, Banks touched on Cardi B benefiting from being a mixed, non-Black Latina as a basis to her quick rise to the top. Many people will argue that Cardi was "made" by "the people" due to her huge following on social media. That's factual (to an extent seeing that her record label Atlantic and entertainment industry have also boosted her), nevertheless there are hundreds of personalities on social media with followings just as large as hers was prior to her newfound A-List status. There are hundreds of women rappers and emcees with large followings and even flamboyant personalities like Cardi's. Why weren't these people signed to Atlantic or other labels, nominated for a Grammy, or invited to the Met Gala? What makes Cardi so different from these other women?

In my opinion, and from numerous discussions I've been reading via social media, it seems that Cardi B has used her racial ambiguity to play Black. As I state this, I'm not referring to her "hood girl" persona, I'm touching on Cardi B not having nann Black parent and claiming "Black" simply based off of being Dominican and Trinidadian and folks running with it to satisfy their lust, fetishization, and exotification for anything non-Black and "foreign" due to colonized minds.

"Ham's Redemption" (1895) by Modesto Brocos showcasing the generation process of blanqueamento in Brazil.
Here's a short history lesson: Contrary to popular belief, being from either island does not mean someone is automatically racially Black. Because of colonialism, immigration, and blanqueamento, many people on both islands are mixed race with different admixtures of Black, White European, and/or Indigenous blood. These mixed folk intermarried with one another to create many of the mixed folk in Latin American countries. And for a bonus, the played out "one drop rule" that some Black Americans seem to desperately cling to, was only used for numbers and was not used in the Caribbean or in other countries during slavery. It was only used in the U.S.. I'll do you one better and even mention that the concept is fairly "new" seeing that prior to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, different societies saw mixed folk as what they were - mixed.
Not only does the one-drop rule apply to no other group than American blacks, but apparently the rule is unique in that it is found only in the United States and not in any other nation in the world.- PBS (Source)
With all that being stated, being from the Caribbean does not mean one is automatically Black, having "Black features" like curly hair, brown skin, and/or full lips and noses does not make one Black. Respectively speaking, Cardi B is not a Black woman, so why is she claiming to be one? This isn't about "policing" someone's Blackness, this is about calling a spade a spade especially when so many people in Black America are so eager to label anyone with a tan as "Black". Can we stop playing games? Foreal? What's really going on?

Azealia Banks has the right message, but is definitely the wrong person to deliver it. I remember back in 2014 sis was on Twitter going at Iggy Azalea and I just wasn't buying her faux pro-Black (woman) stance she was selling. Her Broke With Expensive Taste album was releasing and the Mike Brown murder had the mainstream media and social media in a frenzy which gave Banks the amo to go at Igloo. However, she was right about Azalea's appropriation despite the obvious inauthenticity of her pro-Black rhetoric. Seeing that folks in the industry are so scared to call out the elephant in the room, seems like we'll have to accept it from her for now. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Nonetheless, I'm going to need for Azealia Banks to put her money where her mouth is. Similar to Nicki Minaj's statements on dealing with sexism in hip-hop, Banks has also been avid on speaking up on the problems women face in the industry such as colorism. Ironically, neither women have been open to genuinely embracing and working with other women in rap/hip-hop and mimic similar anti-woman statements and treatment of women similar to their male counterparts. Azealia Banks takes it to the next level since she's called Black women tar babies and gorillas.

I mentioned this last summer when Officer Ricky went on The Breakfast Club and made his comment about signing a female rapper he'd end up screwing; too many new school female rappers and emcees have dropped the ball. Let me make this blunt, male rappers don't too much give a fuck about female rappers, especially if they're much more talented than them. They see themselves as the pimps and the women rappers as the hoes. I'm stating this because I've noticed in recent times, female rappers do not have the unity the women of the past hard nor do they have the unity that male rappers have. Am I stating that women in hip-hop should "phony kick it"? No, but this is about business, elevation, and preservation. Am I making the assumption that male rappers get along more than women? Heavens no! Male rappers beef just as much as female rappers, if not more. Perhaps it seems like it's done more with women because there's so few historically and presently, plus I've never seen of or heard of female rappers shooting each other like I do male rappers. Catch that.

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What I am stating is that women in hip-hop need to operate with a collective, cooperative, pro-woman networking mindset in order to flourish in this day and age. Miss us with that "only female in my crew and I kick shit like a nigga do" or "I respect the rap game, but ion fuck with rap bitches" nonsense. Take notes on what the old school femcees did in collaborating on songs, photo shoots, and even concerts in order to thrive and not have to deal with rapey men like Rick Ross who will have his rotund belly on your backside in order to seal a deal.

At the end of the day, I'm not here for Azealia or Cardi, no shade intended. I don't think Cardi B means any harm. I actually like a few of her songs (her verse on "No Limit" will have me cuttin' up on the dancefloor in the club) and I see why people like her. Nonetheless, I'm going to need for people to stop coddling her and making excuses, just as many folks did when she was called out for calling dark skinned women "burnt roaches" and it was swept under the rug (Anyone else would have been "cancelled". That's y'all favorite word, right?). Y'all will realize it when it's too late though, just like y'all did with Nicki Minaj and Kanye West. Despite her success and eagerness to just "do her", I still feel this Iggy Azalea-like rise to fame is questionable and a flat out slap in the face to women who've been putting their blood, sweat, and tears into their crafts to be looked over.

Azealia Banks really is talented and her music is dope. Sis needs to go away to rehab for a while, get therapy, come back, humble herself and apologize to the 600 people she's offended throughout the years and focus on her music. Sadly, although she had plenty of opportunities before feuding with everybody and they mama, due to colorism, she would probably never be on a Cardi or Nicki level. I think she has the right ideas, but is battling mental health issues and demons that she's all over the place. All in all, whether Banks is coming from a place of jealousy or not, she's right on the money and many people can't refute the facts without bringing up her troublesome past or labeling her as a "hater". Until someone else with a large platform spits what she's spitting, looks like we'll have to take her words for now. Take the meat and throw away the bones.

Do you think Azealia Banks is right or is she just a hater? Share your thoughts below!

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