In today's edition of "Who's Azealia Banks beefing with on Twitter?" we find our brave, aquatic heroine taking shots at Jim Jones over the word "vamp." It's a word that, as Azealia took to Twitter to remind us, means "A very sexually/financially powerful woman who is usually characterized by a penchant for dark things; nighttime, witchcraft, etc.," or, "To dance lightly, as if in preparation for a larger, more colorful section of a musical composition." You can read how shit went down from the screencaps.
Jim Jones does not like Azealia Banks' definition of the word "vamp." He, of Dipset and "Yelling The Word 'BAAALLLIN'' As Annoyingly As Humanly Possible" fame, woke up one day and decided that he was a vampire. He calls himself and his friends "vampires" because they stay out all night and drink and smoke pot and kill people and stuff. He uses the word "vamp" to describe these activities. He also sells t-shirts with gigantic Luis Vuitton logos that are reversed. VL=Vampire Life. On the Dipset song "Salute," he raps, "Vampire Life, true blood. Dracula! Sookie!" Get it?
Dipset has a pretty illustrious history of taking words and deciding they're different words, or even straight making shit up. Claiming he invented vamping really shouldn't be surprising from Jimmy—remember, he picked the rap name "Jim Jones" because he felt like he had such a strong personality that he was a cult leader. Like Jim Jones, the guy who led a cult. Cam'ron once famously decided using a computer meant you were "puting," and Juelz Santana rapped on "More Gangsta Music" (there is not an original "Gangsta Music") that he "stayed icy on purpose." We're talking about a crew so ridiculous, they used to have their own roller skating team and talked about working with scientists to create an entirely new color. Nothing Dipset does has ever made sense to the point where if they started doing something logical, I would feel like something has gone stratospherically awry.
Azealia Banks, meanwhile, is no stranger to co-opting shit for her own ends as well. She basically took the idea of "#seapunk" and ran with it, her post-"212" work featuring aquatic imagery all over the place. As a stage setup, it works pretty well, her taking it seriously kinda ruined the joke. She's a rapper from New York, but unlike Action Bronson or Angel Haze, her music doesn't feel like New York. It's got more in common with UK Grime or just straight electronic music. She's not really a rapper, she's more of a musician who uses rapping to communicate certain ideas while she sings others. It can be pretty great, but when I listen to her spit straight bars, it can feel sort of like listening to air. The point is, she's just as susceptible to taking ideas as Dipset is. Neither she nor Jim Jones thought up the word "vamp," and it's silly for one of them to claim that they did. Language is not something that has a cut-and-dry lineage. Words are fluid, and they evolve over time by having people of different cultures pick them up and use them in totally radical ways. When Jim Jones and Azealia Banks argue about vamping, they're really arguing about who belongs to what culture. They're both from Harlem, but Jim Jones is saying he's street because he uses a certain word a certain way, and Azealia Banks is not street because she uses that same word in a different way. The tweets that were shot back and forth between the two corroborate this.
Azealia Banks loves to talk shit on Twitter. She's so good at it that sometimes, I forget she makes actual music. I have no idea why she likes to throw shots at people, but it can be great publicity, and she knows it—after she and Jones instituted an effective cease fire, she tweeted, "This will be on the blogs in 3, 2, 1." The only part she's wrong about this is it took me like an hour to write this.