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.