If you’re not familiar with 20-year-old Harlem rapper Azealia Banks, now’s the time to get acquainted. She released her first track, “Seventeen,” back in 2009 (which was produced by one of her biggest fans and supporters, Diplo), but the hype didn’t really start building around Banks until last year. With her brand of aggressive, dance led rap, reminiscent of East London’s garage scene, Banks is kicking up a storm in the music world, taking girl rap back to the no-holds barred days when we first met the potty mouthed Lil Kim. Except that Banks is a little bit ruder, and much more raw. There are a million reasons why you need to know Azealia Banks right this instant, but here are the top 6:
Banks got a lot of attention for her 2011 release “212,” which was one of the biggest, most critically acclaimed tracks of the winter. Half dance club, half rap, “212” is unavoidably infectious, and comes with a generous helping of dirty words. Watch the video for “212” here.
2. The Cool List
NME put Banks at number one on their Cool List in 2011. Out of 50 musicians, that’s no mean feat for the newcomer. And we definitely don’t disagree with the decision — Banks has that “cool without even trying” nonchalant defiance about her.
3. The Kreayshawn Twitter beef
Everyone loves a good Twitter beef, and last night Banks kicked off at Kreayshawn for posting a link to her video “212” via a pornography site. Banks Tweeted, “@KREAYSHAWN you’re a dumb b**ch. And you can’t rap. I’ll sit on your face. … Fall back sl*t.” To which Kreayshawn responded, “Did I just get smashed on twitter because I was supporting a fellow female? I sure did… *confused*.” Banks had the last word however, tweeting, “So sorry that I have wasted my energy. I’m better than this… I promise, no more acknowledging whack b**ches for 2012… Lol. These girls are trying to distract me. I have everything to gain. And they have everything to lose… From now on I will no longer react to any shade thrown my way. Especially if said shade thrower is trying to be subliminal and sideways…Subliminal shots are #p**sy …. And not the good kind…”
4. Scissor Sisters “Shady Love”
The Scissor Sisters just released “Shady Love” featuring Banks under the pseudonym Krystal Pepsy. It’s already one of the most talked about tracks of the new year, with the Scissor Sisters signature disco fantasy going head to head with Bank’s dirty rhymes. Watch the video for “Shady Love” here.
Last night, amidst all the Twitter beefing, Banks took a break to tweet that she was the first artist confirmed to play at Coachella later this year: “First confirmed act for coachellaaaaaa. Toooooooooooo excited for that s**ttt!”
Azealia Banks…Obsessed. Wow. say.ly/Brg18HN
— Gwyneth Paltrow (@GwynethPaltrow) December 16, 2011