Azealia Banks:<br />
Check Yourself Before Your Wreck Yourself

Being a 'bad girl' doesn't mean being a bad ambassador to your own brand.

As rising rap star Azealia Banks said so herself, “Another week, another twitter feud.” 

This time the target was Lil’ Kim, whom the 20-year-old unloaded on yesterday after Kim seemed to have ditched plans to contribute a verse for a track intended for her upcoming debut, Broke With Expensive Taste. After initially expressing her giddiness about working with the legendary rapper Banks revealed on Twitter on Sunday, "Okay so true tea is that Lil Kim got mad that I wrote a verse for her on a record I wanted her on."

She added, “Everyone knows Lil Kim doesn't write her own raps and I saw this as a faster more efficient way of getting the track done.” And apparently, "She then had her assistant write me some long ass offensive email about how Lil Kim writes her own raps and doesn't need anyone's help." Azealia then directed the following message to the Rap elderstateswoman herself: "All this extra sh*t is stupid. Keep closing your own doors ma.” 

Kim’s people sent out a press release, though Azealia responded – again via Twitter – letting Kim know that it was her people who requested a reference track and that “all the time it took u to get ur team to issue a press release bout this YOU COULDA WROTE THE VERSE!!!"

From an outsider’s perspective, this appears to be something that might have blown over easily if handled differently. Say, off Twitter and through a one-on-one with Kim. The damage is done now, and while it may not be Banks’ fault that the collaboration may not ever come to fruition, it was her choice to handle it in this fashion. As a new fan of Azealia Banks I sometimes worry if her noticeably expanding roster of people she’s publicly rifted with may alienate potential fans.

If you think that’s too ominous a question to ask this early, consider how many headlines Azealia Banks has netted as it relates to her career versus her beefs recently. Or just look at the reactions her vitriolic comments yields via social media and blogs. Yes, she’s working with Lady Gaga’s manager now, critics raved about her Coachella set, but none of that will matter if her music gets overshadowed by the words she tweets versus any that come out of her mouth on wax.

To be fair to Azealia, it's not that she's always been wrong in her stances. She was right to question rival Iggy Azalea’s “slave master reference,” had no choice but to respond to T.I.’s sexist comment about her, and frankly, someone complaining about Lil’ Kim being difficult is like hearing word that the sky is a lovely shade of blue. Still, passion sometimes needs cultivation – especially if you’re trying to package it and your talent to sell to the masses.

Which begs the question, “Where are Azealia Banks’ handlers?”

I understand that the recording industry is running on fumes and ringtone sales, but it doesn’t take much to say to their new cash cow, “You know, it’s probably not a great idea to broadcast about any business endeavor going sour.” Sure, Kim could use all the help she can get with revitalizing her career and already blew her chance to look like the cool Auntie to Nicki Minaj fans, but how appealing does it look to work with Azealia right now?

People and this often insincere trend of declaring not to give a damn about what others think forget how much likability still matters. This is particularly true for new artists who no longer have the luxury of being so unrefined when they choose to tweet every single thought with the rest of us.

Azealia, you probably weren’t even alive when the adage “Check yourself before you wreck yourself” was introduced, but please embrace it. And oh, here two more words on why you’ve got to work on that attitude and how you react to disappointment now before it potentially soils your career and reputation: Foxy Brown.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer currently based in Los Angeles. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick