Azealia Banks: A brief history of the rapper's public feuds

From attacking Beyonce's feminist credentials to being threatened with being sued by Sarah Palin 

Maya Oppenheim
Thursday 12 May 2016 16:19 BST
Banks fell out with The Stone Roses while playing alongside them at Future Music festival
Banks fell out with The Stone Roses while playing alongside them at Future Music festival (Getty Images)

Azealia Banks is no stranger to controversy. Famed for voicing her outspoken views in lengthy diatribes, the outspoken singer has had her fair shares of public disputes.

But it seems her latest outburst might be her most inflammatory yet. In a Twitter rage which lasted the length of Tuesday night, the 24-year-old Harlem-born musician targeted Zayn Malik with a series of racist and homophobic insults. The row begun after Banks claimed Malik had copied her work for his new video.

After being told to “simmer down” by 14-year-old Disney actress Skai Jackson, Banks insults became directed at her, calling her a “little black b***h”. She then prompted yet more criticism for advising Skai to have plastic surgery and “grow some hips and start your menses”.

Of course, this is by no means the first or only time Banks has had an altercation with a high profile figure. There is a steadily growing list. Here is a selection of her feuds.


Beyonce’s Lemonade album might have gained widespread critical acclaim but Banks was rather less impressed. Although she started by saying it was “what pop culture” needed, she later rebuked Beyonce’s visual album for hypocrisy, appropriation, weakness, and capitalism. In fact, she went so far as to say it was the “antithesis of feminism”, arguing that it entrenches “black sufferance”. Later, Banks said, “She's not an artist, she's a poacher”.

Sarah Palin

This was arguably the most legally contentious of Banks’ rows, and, unlike most, this one ended with an apology. Banks tweeted that Palin should be gang raped and the video footage should be shared on the internet.

Banks’ comments were prompted by a satirical, spoof news story in which Palin tells an Alaska newspaper that black people “accepted [slavery] willingly” and that “negroes loved being slaves and they were doing just fine under our rules”. Palin then told People she was threatening to sue Banks for the comments and Banks, in turn, issued an apology to Palin.

Iggy Azalea

These two might have bizarrely indistinguishable names but this is the longest-running and most deep-rooted of Banks’ arguments. It's hard to keep count of Banks’ tirades against her over the last four years, which began after Banks criticised Azalea for calling herself a “runaway slave master” in her song “D.R.U.G.S”.

She was also displeased when the Australian rapper was nominated for Best Rap Album at the Grammys last year.

“The Grammys are supposed to be awards for artistic excellence… Iggy Azalea’s not excellent,” Banks said in an interview with US radio show Hot 97. “When they give these Grammys out, all it says to white kids is, ‘You’re great. You’re amazing. You can do whatever you put your mind to.’ And it says to black kids, ‘You don’t have s***. You don’t own s***, not even the s*** you created yourself.’ And it makes me upset.” She has also nicknamed her “Igloo Azeala” in reference to her skin colour.


Banks took aim at fellow rapper Eminem after she heard his lyrics about Lana Del Ray. Eminem said “Play nice? B***ch I’ll punch Lana Del Rey right in the face twice”. To which Banks replied by telling him to go back to his trailer park.

Lily Allen

This particular row started for no particular reason. Banks criticised her on Twitter by saying “weak… she can’t talk though… NOT with that ugly husband she has”.

The two then had some two-ing and fro-ing, with Allen mocking Banks’ record sales, triggering Banks to criticise her children. “@lilyrosecooper LOL ill be a one hit wonder but you have ugly children….. Shhhhhhh. #SHUTUP”. Allen then joked about the row by posting a photo of beef.

The Stone Roses

Banks fell out with The Stone Roses while playing alongside them at Future Music festival. During Banks's set, crew members reportedly started sound checking for the Roses, who were headlining, thus disturbing the rapper's songs. Banks went on to claim the former tour manager had “made a pact with the Stone Roses to sabotage my set because I fired him’” and said she wished the Manchester group “nothing but excrement and death”.

“Wow! I must really f**king be a superstar,” Banks tweeted after the gig. “You've got an established band trying to sabotage my lil rap b***h shine … A bunch of old white men trying to bully a young black girl [...] I wish them nothing but excrement and death.”

Rita Ora

Banks also had a quarrel with Ora at the same festival. “She's been TRYING IT on this tour man. Ever since I arrived on this tour Rita's been going out of her way to try and intimidate me,” Banks tweeted. “Taking all these candids of me when I wasn't looking, then posting and deleting them like a weak bitch.” She also dubbed Ora “Rihanna's understudy”.

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