Azealia Banks Gets Naked for Playboy, Talks Jay Z, Race, & Reparations

Meow! Azealia Banks won’t be censored. The outspoken rapper bares her kitty cat for Playboy‘s April issue. In the frisky photos, shot by Ellen Von Unwerth, Banks poses with cats on her head, curls up with a giant ball of yarn, and drenches herself in milk.

“I love getting naked,” the 23-year-old tells the magazine. “It’s so funny, every time my manager arranges a photo shoot, I’m like, ‘Let’s do a nude photo!’ And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, Azealia, you’re always trying to bring your butt out.’ Posing for Playboy was a no-brainer. I was like, ‘Yes! They want to see me naked.'”

Banks joins a list of famous Playboy models including Naomi Campbell, Marilyn Monroe, Cindy Crawford, Farrah Fawcett, Kim Kardashian, and Grace Jones.

In addition to exposing her lady parts, Yung Rapunxel sounds off on everything from religion and reparations to her abusive ex, bisexuality, and why Jay Z is the only artist she wants to emulate.

On her abusive past: “It started when I was 17. He was 43. There’s something very wrong with a man that age who wants to date a 17-year-old girl. I didn’t know how to shave my bush and shit like that. I had a hairy pussy. I didn’t know how to wear perfume. I had neon pink barrettes in my hair. And as ‘212’ started to pop off and my career started to happen, he became jealous. He choked me and beat me up, and of course you should not be fucking with a man who puts his hands on you, but I was stupid and young.”

On being an independent artist: “Even though I’ve always made really cool stuff, I did it with a little bit of a pop sensibility because I was signed to a major label. That’s why you have songs like ‘ATM Jam’ and ‘Chasing Time’ that are more pop. But now I don’t have a label to answer to. All the ideas I’m having are fucking cool and abstract and crazy and dope.”

On Jay Z: “That’s the only person I have my eye set on. The race thing always comes up, but I want to get there being very black and proud and boisterous about it. You get what I mean? A lot of times when you’re a black woman and you’re proud, that’s why people don’t like you. In American society, the game is to be a nonthreatening black person. That’s why you have Pharrell or Kendrick Lamar saying, ‘How can we expect people to respect us if we don’t respect ourselves?’ He’s playing that nonthreatening black man shit, and that gets all the white soccer moms going, ‘We love him.’ Even Kanye West plays a little bit of that game—’Please accept me, white world.’ Jay Z hasn’t played any of those games, and that’s what I like.”

Azealia Banks Covers Playboy

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Azealia Banks Covers Playboy


On reparations: “Y’all motherfuckers still owe me reparations! [laughs] That’s why it’s still about race. Really, the generational effects of Jim Crow and poverty linger on. As long as I have my money, I’m getting the fuck out of here and I’m gonna leave y’all to your own devices.”

On her hate for America: “I hate everything about this country. Like, I hate fat white Americans. All the people who are crunched into the middle of America, the real fat and meat of America, are these racist conservative white people who live on their farms. Those little teenage girls who work at Kmart and have a racist grandma—that’s really America.”

On being black in America: “When you rip a people from their land, from their customs, from their culture—there’s still a piece of me that knows I’m not supposed to be speaking English, I’m not supposed to be worshipping Jesus Christ. All this shit is unnatural to me. People will be like, ‘Oh, you’re ignorant because you don’t speak proper English.’ No. This is not mine. I don’t even want this shit, so I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want with this language. I’m going to call you a fag or a cracker or a bitch.”

On what religion she identifies with: “I don’t want to say, but I’ll tell you about one form of the religion. It’s called 21 Divisions. When they brought the slaves over to the Caribbean, they syncretized all their African gods with Catholic saints. So in 21 Divisions there are black gods and goddesses, and my mother practiced that when I was little.”

On getting hit on by other women: “Most women are scared of me. People have always been scared of me. I punched my teacher in the face one time when I was in preschool. We were playing house, and the lady was like, ‘I’m a monster! I’m gonna eat your family!’ I punched her right in the eye. [laughs] It was a Head Start program, so I was three.”

On who she respects: “There are plenty of intelligent musicians. Kanye West, J. Cole, Ariel Pink, Lauryn Hill, KRS-One, Q-Tip—lots of people. I’m not special.”

The no-holds-barred interview can be read in full at and the nude pictorial can be found in the magazine, on newsstands March 20.

Azealia tweeted one of the nude photos, which can be seen below.