Azealia Banks Says She Was Not Discovered By Diplo

Photo courtesy of Azealia Banks/Facebook

Azealia Banks is halfway through her interview session at Hive HQ when she realizes that she’d never want any daughter of hers at the sort of sweaty dance parties she and A$AP Rocky attended as kids. Perched on a stool while wearing a glamorous frock and sparkly high heels, the Harlem-raised Banks is in the middle of recounting some unglamorous stories about growing up in New York City — and the yarns usually involve shady characters doing shady things in public.

Listening to her stories, you can see how the young rapper developed her fierce personality and razor tongue — she couldn’t survive in the city without them. So as Ms. Banks preps her Fantasea mixtape (due July 4) and puts the finishing touches on her debut album proper, Hive asked Banks for a nontraditional guide to living in the city, taking in Coney Island, and avoiding subway predators and dirty old men. We also asked Banks whether dirty young man Diplo really did discover her and who she’ll be working with on her much-anticipated LP.

You performed at the Mermaid Ball the other night. As a kid, what do you remember about going to Coney Island?

The beach was dirty! It’s really dirty, and the rides were wack! They were like all these kiddie rides. There was only one roller coaster and someone fell off. Remember when Coney Island just collapsed one summer?

Did you see the person fall off the roller coaster?

I didn’t, but it was all over the news. Someone fell off the Cyclone!

Why didn’t you like the rides at Coney Island?

I was expecting it to be more like Rye Playland. In Rye, New York, we have this place called Playland and they have better rides. Coney Island was like a carnival.

Did you ever ride the roller coaster at Coney Island yourself?

I don’t do roller coasters. I do fun rides [that go] up and down, like The [Twilight Zone] Tower of Terror in Disneyland, where they drop you. But all that extra shit? No.

On your song “212” you reference the A train subway line. What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever seen on the New York City subway?

Oh my God, you know that guy on the A train? The one that has the tear tattooed on his face and would be jerking himself off on the train? He’s on the A train — no, he’s on the C train, the C local. He’s nasty! The C train stops at 168th street, ’cause it’s the last stop on the uptown [line] and he’ll be there at like two, three, four o’clock knowing that P.S. 168 is right there and that’s when all the little girls get out. He’s nasty!

When I was 8th grade, I used to come from my hall — my school was on 131st street — and go up there to do my community service, help with the kindergarteners and cut their little apples and whatever just for two hours every Thursday. I would take the train two stops down, and he would be on. He’s nasty, yo. He thinks he’s mad slick: he would have like a paper bag, a hole in the paper bag and have his [genitals] in the paper bag, right, looking like he got a beer or some shit. He’ll be looking at you and then he’s got the beer still and you’re like, “He’s just looking at me because I’m cute, right?” And all of the sudden the bag is down and he got his [genitals] out and he’s staring at you and you’re like, “Oh my fuckin’ God!” Luckily that time it happened to me, the doors were still open so I ran down and got into another car.

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