AceShowbiz - Azealia Banks thanks former BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw for stopping her from quitting music. The 32-year-old rapper wanted to give up her music career to go to college to study teaching because she didn't think people cared about her music when she was dropped by XL Recordings after sending them her biggest known track, 2011's "212".
"I was thinking maybe I should go get a GED (General Education Development Certificate) and go to college," she confessed in a New York Times profile marking the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.
However, Nick loved the song and regularly included it on his playlists, and a little while after, she started getting offered larger sums of money to play gigs. She added, "Then I just get this phone call from Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1, and he's played it ('212') like a million times."
"I didn't even know what BBC Radio 1 was. And then very quickly you go from getting paid $150 and a bottle of Smirnoff to perform to getting like, $5,000 at some weird charity event. I'd never had 5,000 anything all at once in my hands, ever. All I could think was, I'm going to get a weave and a laptop."
"212" went to number 12 in the UK and went platinum and was lauded by critics. It ended up featuring in movies including "The Heat", "The Bling Ring", "Pitch Perfect", and more recently, 2022's "Bodies Bodies Bodies", starring Pete Davidson.
Earlier this year, Azealia vowed that the music industry "cannot get rid of [her]." Although she hasn't released an album in almost a decade, Azealia insists she's not a "has-been." The rapper told The Guardian, "What is success in music anymore? Nobody knows, and for the people who do know, it means scheduling your smiles and crafting some weird character."
"I think it's really unfair that people call Azealia Banks a has-been - you are a never-was, and a never-f******-will-be. You didn't have the courage to put yourself out there because you were afraid you were going to fail, but I've had success. You only have to be right one time to be considered successful, and my batting average is very f****** high."
Azealia feels proud of her new music and she's also proud that she's managed to battle against the odds in the industry. She added, "My music is good as s***! If you can't get off to your own s***, then you probably should not be making music."
"I've done this by myself, with knives in my back, rocks thrown at me, kicked off cliffs. And I still keep coming back - you cannot get rid of me. Y'all have all the help in the world, y'all got writers, y'all got producers, y'all got f****** everybody! And you still sound like s***."
Despite this, Azealia is aware that she's become an easy target for criticism over the years. She said, "Even though I know that the internet is not a real place, there are enough people who take it seriously enough to feel like they can put their hands on me in real life. They feel like they can launch frivolous lawsuits and use this villainous, stupid narrative against me."
Azealia released her debut studio album "Broke with Expensive Taste" in 2014. Her career has been far from plain sailing, with the star being accused of homophobia and racist slurs over the years. She infamously made such remarks about former One Direction star Zayn Malik on Twitter.
Azealia was later dropped by her UK booking agency and a festival, and her Twitter account was suspended. And, in January 2021, she courted controversy by posting a video on Instagram of her digging up and cooking her dead pet cat. She later clarified that she did not in fact eat the pussy but exhumed it for taxidermizing purposes.