[OP-ED] The Latest Azealia Banks Controversy x Shystie’s ‘Control It’ Video


Azealia Banks is no stranger to media controversy, battling with many entertainers over the last three years. Most recently, she’s battled Perez Hilton and Angel Haze (featuring an unwarranted assist from B.Scott), which led to Angel eventually apologizing for her actions in the disagreement. While Angel’s actions were commendable, it has hindered a quality collaboration between the two artists similar to what Azealia has done with West Indian/British rapper Shystie. After appearing on Azealia’s groundbreaking ‘Fantasea’ mixtape (“Neptune”), the favor was returned in the form of “Control It”, a standout from Shystie’s upcoming ‘Pink Mist’ EP. It was first reported that “Control It” would be a single from the EP, but there was no video in sight several months after the song’s release. In March, the “Control It” video appeared online, apparently without Azealia’s permission.

The Brits give great opinions on the beef from both sides, but there hasn’t been a resolution as of yet. While the video looks like a polished production, I can fully understand Azealia’s anger towards Shystie releasing it without full permission. Here, the argument is two-fold. First, even though Shystie’s “Control It” is a slightly better song than Azealia’s “Neptune”, a video for the latter song would have been a much better mainstream introduction for the Brit rapper. Releasing “Control It” first makes it seem as if Shystie is attempting to ride off of Azealia’s success. By placing a more known artist on a lesser known artist’s first single, the song gains more traction in terms of worldwide appeal and commercial success. This formula has been tried and true throughout the inception of music, and has gone on to make millions of dollars for artists new to the music game.


Secondly, Shystie is styled much better than Azealia in the video, which is a huge problem for me. Both artists are extremely beautiful in their own unique ways, but the fact that Azealia is rocking 50’s cateye sunglasses with #banji hair clips while Shystie is #beattothegods in couture lingerie is somewhat…shady. It’s almost as if Shystie’s team told Azealia’s team that she had to look better because it was “Shystie’s song and video”. Even though Azealia looks stunning in her three other looks in the “Control It” video, the main look featuring both rappers is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – not a good look for my favorite femcee. At TUA, we praise Azealia Banks as being the premiere upcoming female rapper, and we wholeheartedly agree that her styling for the “Control It” video warrants the video being removed immediately. As an artist who’s about to release the biggest album of 2013 (‘Broke With Expensive Taste’), no image mistake can be made. It’s because of this that I firmly believe Azealia’s Twitter rant that Shystie’s label rushed the production of the video without permission.

The “Control It” video would’ve been a star-studded affair if the two aforementioned issues were settled prior to its release. After Azealia’s Twitter rant, Shystie wrote a lengthy letter to Billboard describing her side of the situation and followed up days later with a surprisingly impressive diss track entitled “Doppleganger”. I gotta admit, Shystie’s diss track is quite funny – she even addresses the mastering issues with Azealia’s latest “Yung Rapunxel”. The song is offensive and overly direct, moreso than Angel Haze’s attempt, which has me wondering why Azealia hasn’t responded to date on wax.

Instead of handling things professionally, Shystie fired back at Azealia’s Twitter claims on wax. She should’ve publicly tried harder to work things out with Banks in order for both parties to win, but instead it’s an all-out musical loss for both artists. The song is set to be released on Itunes on April 23, but commercial success is highly unlikely with Polydor (Azealia’s label) yanking uploads of the video off of Youtube left and right. “Control It” brings about quality verses from both rappers, and is much better than most of the femcee releases currently (Nicki Minaj’s “High School”, Angel Haze’s “Werkin’ Girls”). With a song of such great potential, it definitely breaks my heart to see these two at odds with a somewhat simple situation. As with the Angel Haze situation, the problem appears to be a budding #relationship that went sour, but there’s no denying that a #marriage between the two artists’ styles would’ve been pure greatness. The behind-the-scenes clip below leaves fans wondering – what really happened here?

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