“No Problems” and Twitter Beefs

So here’s Azealia Banks’ new video for “No Problems”:

If you don’t remember, “No Problems” was a diss track aimed at Angel Haze very quickly after the two rappers had a Twitter beef. (Haze released two diss tracks, first “On the Edge,” and then a Garageband created “Shut the Fuck Up.”)

This beef was particularly uncomfortable because both rappers went below-the-belt in a way that was very socially troubling (Banks saying that Haze is in love with her, and Haze mocking Banks’ skin color), but as far as Twitter beefs go it seems pretty standard. It’s disingenuous to pretend that beefs don’t have a pretty important place in hip-hop and hip-hop culture, and hand-wringing over women participating in that (“Why do female rappers always have to be fighting each other?!”) ignores that context. There’s a tendency to pit female rappers against each other as if there’s only room for one in the game (a concept that Michelle at The Sociological Ear calls “The Hip-hop Highlander“), but that has more to with tokenism and the perception of limited space for women than the actual reasons that female rappers participate in beefs, which can be varied.

I think it’s kind of strange that Banks chose to make a video out of this particular diss track (both the song and the video were very hastily made), and as Michelle mentioned to me yesterday, it’s also strange that the video doesn’t really acknowledge that the track was originally a diss. Banks is partying at a music festival in Miami, famous dude musicians Steve Aoki and Diplo (who Banks has had an interesting history with) make an appearance, but beyond that the video is intentionally aimless. That aimlessness could read as a very subtle dig at Haze, a “you don’t even register anymore” statement, but if that’s true, it’s not very convincing.

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