Yesterday, Azealia Banks dropped her “remix” of “Harlem Shake,” and as you see from the tweets above, Baauer was not happy. It looks like he had the song taken down (although Banks wasted no time in posting mirrors of the MP3), and a back and forth on Twitter ensued, calling into question a beef that dance music and hip-hop seem to get into separately, but is crashing into each other more with the advent of freestyling over anything popular for promotion.
There are two main issues here, the first being that Baauer definitely has the right to take down whatever he wants to (although Terry Urban’s “Dipset” edit of “Harlem Shake” is still sitting on his Bandcamp). The song is Baauer’s intellectual property, and like it or not, if he does not want someone altering it in any way, he can legally ask for it to be taken down. This contradicts the mixtape era of hip-hop, where rappers like 50 Cent gained a ton of buzz via creating entirely new versions of tracks that were in regular radio rotation, and with “Harlem Shake,” a 10-month-old track that was recently being thrown into the top of the iTunes charts due to the viral “Harlem Shake” video craze, Banks dropping a freestyle onto it NOW looks thirsty, no matter how much of a fan she said she has been.
The flipside, while not being brought into this argument heavily, is the Munchi factor. The EDM world has not forgotten the “Esta Noche” situation, and while ETC!ETC! opened up about his charges of her jacking his track “Swoop” with Brillz for her song “BBD,” not too many people within the EDM community are speaking out about these things. The Game spit over a Mala track during his last promo run, and Mala would not elaborate on the situation while speaking with Benji B. Who knows if there were monies passed for its use, or if Mala just feels uncomfortable about discussing it, but it sounded awkward. The animosity is obviously there (again, based on the above tweets), but if no one is standing up for themselves, how will things change?
DAD doesn’t claim to have all of the answers, but there are issues that need to be dealt with, especially when you consider that the offended parties (Baauer, ETC!ETC!, Munchi) have affiliations with Diplo‘s Mad Decent camp, and Diplo has known and worked with Azealia Banks for over four years. Mad Decent/Jeffrees put out “Harlem Shake,” so he’s definitely involved, although at the time this went to press he’s not expressed support on either side. It’s a sticky situation, but with this much animosity, something has got to give.