This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.
Here in the UK, we’re precious about our cultural exports. So when Azealia Banks went in like a tornado on Twitter for a solid 24 hours today, a few of which were spent hurling piles of dog shit at UK rap and grime, it wasn’t long before Britain turned it’s collective head in unison and fired one straight back. Strangely, despite her earlier tweets being littered with grossly offensive racial slurs and homophobia, it was the UK music disses that really got people reeling... huh.
“The UK really can't rap though. UK RAP is just a disgrace to rap culture in general,” she tweeted, before adding: “UK rappers NEVER have swag. It's ALWAYS FORCED” and “UK producers r FIRE, UK rappers…Nope.” This shook the attention of everyone on the scene, from Plastician to Big Narstie and Charlie Sloth to Shadez the Misfit. Even Dapper Laughs got involved, a fact that shows, in itself, what a huge mess this whole thing became. By the time it was lunch time, Rinse FM had cancelled Banks’ headline slot at their festival, and grime artists were threatening to throw piss on her, while she was threatening to bring guns.
One of the people that got sucked into Banks’ trail of destruction was Roll Deep DJ and BBC 1Xtra host DJ Target, who was told: “Sure we like to play with ur flows/styles/beats for a quick second. But that's all it is. A play thing” in retaliation to one of Target’s earlier tweets, before the pair started playing Twitter ping pong with each other. Instead of trawling through Banks’ actually-quite-depressing Twitter feed, we thought we’d give DJ Target a ring to speak about what happened, and why Banks is wrong.
Soooo, Azealia Banks went a bit hard this morning…
DJ Target: I woke up, and I don’t usually go through my timeline but I saw that Manga from Roll Deep had some back-and-forth with her so I went on her timeline and saw that she was attacking grime and UK rap and just going in. I know she’s renowned for saying everything out of term, but I just thought it was a bit harsh. So I just tweeted like, “She gon’ learn today” as a joke, but she saw that and brought me into the conversation – now it’s just gone crazy. The whole of the UK looks like they’re onto her, which feels kind of unnecessary really.
What do you think about her calling UK rap a disgrace?
It’s obvious to the whole world that the UK is leading in terms of music. I even tweeted: “Ask Drake, Kanye, Diddy or Jay”, because it’s a very ignorant thing to say. Everyone can have their own opinion on what they like or don’t like, but to call something a “disgrace” or say something's so whack that it was deleted is a bit silly. It reflects more on her.
Do you think there is still an issue in the US in terms of respecting UK rap or Grime?
There are probably some people in the general public in America that think exactly the same thing, because it’s America and they didn’t get their head around UK rap until recently. There are still only certain artists that they gravitate towards. But with grime it’s slightly different because they see it as a separate UK movement rather than just our version of rap.
But it’s changed a lot in the past ten years. Back then, for a UK artist to have an American artist’s feature would be a dream come true, whereas today, we’re on a level playing field. Obviously rap in America has been going on for decades so they’re far ahead of us in that culture, but the UK has proved itself above and beyond. We deserve some respect – that’s all it is.
But why do UK MCs care about her opinion anyway? Why don’t they just ignore her?
I don’t know if it’s because they care about her opinion, but when someone just won’t shut up and they keep going on and going on… We’ve been watching her do that on other subjects anyway, and then she comes for the UK without having any knowledge of what’s going on. I feel like people are just asking: “Who does she think she is?” She plays that superior role and then she suddenly switches to being a victim. People have had enough of her being a bully; especially online, and especially in the past 24 hours. Not just about grime, but also about other things too. It doesn’t even sound like she’s embarrassed.
She also made some really horrendous racist and homophobic remarks. Do you think all this beef about the UK scene is diverting from a more serious issue?
I think the reason that the UK rap stuff has blown up so much is because she’d already got under everyone’s skin with the racist and homophobic stuff. I think it’s far worse for her to be saying those things. There’s no place for any of it on Twitter, or in the music industry in general. None of it should be tolerated. But when I saw what she said about UK music that’s what struck a chord with me, because I feel like I’ve been a part of that from the very beginning.
Do you think Rinse were right to drop her from their festival?
I feel like it’s something that would have needed to be done, because it was getting to the point where she was talking about the second amendment and people were threatening to throw piss at her. It’s not the sort of thing you want to host at your event. How could she come here in two weeks to a grime festival after this? It’s not even like it’s V Festival – it’s a grime festival.
Was it just all nonsense or do you think attitudes like Azealia’s will be a side effect of grime getting bigger and bigger, thus garnering more attention and more criticism?
Nah, I don’t think so. I think it’s just a side of someone who speaks out of line. I don’t like heavy metal so I don’t listen to it, but I don’t go on Twitter calling it a disgrace. There will be people seeing the UK movement who don’t get it, but that’s fair enough. But when you’re attacking something, you’re putting yourself in the direct line of fire.
Do you think she has a future in the UK as far as live shows go?
I don’t know. There are going to have to be some apologies. But it’s not like it was going well for her here anyway. Would people miss having her perform here? I don’t think they would. If she has a massive hit, then maybe she could bring it back, because it’s not like everyone cares. But the sort of people that would have helped her in the early days – people like me, people on radio stations – they’re the people that she’s going to need if she wants a career in the UK. She’s not doing herself any favours by dissing everyone.
Thanks for having a chat with me.
No problem, see you later.