WHO'S THIS: Azealia Banks
FROM WHERE: Harlem. She also attended the famed LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, where alums include another female rapper by the name of Nicki Minaj and a host of other famous folks.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN: Even with the meteoric rise of Nicki Minaj into the forefront of pop culture relevance, mainstream female rappers still have a long way to go to reclaim the numbers and relevance they had in the mid to late '90s. The emergence of rappers like Banks means that Nicki doesn’t have to shoulder all of the weight by herself. Not to say that Banks hasn’t established herself. She’s already gotten major co-signs from the likes of Kanye West and fashion juggernaut Karl Lagerfeld. Azealia has spit on tracks from Diplo and is expected to go into the studio with legendary rapper and producer Missy Elliott soon too.
MUSIC SOUNDS LIKE: Imagine the quirkiest parts of the dance music influenced pop phenomenon mixed with a little of Nicki Minaj’s mainstream sensibilities, including the occasional singing, and you’ll have an idea of what Banks is all about. She represents the finest in hipster rap. All of her material thus far is upbeat, party-ready music complete with plenty of braggadocio to go around.
YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD HER ON: At this point, she’s probably more famous for calling out Iggy Azalea, an ironically similarly named female MC, for some interesting lyrics. The whole thing spiraled out of control when T.I. put his two-cents in regarding some tweets that Ms. Banks issued about his legal situation. On a more positive note, Banks performed at this year's Coachella festival to some pretty positive reviews.
MUST-LISTEN TRACKS: “Liquorice” is a fun spin on Lone’s “Pineapple Crush” and very reminiscent of early '90s house music. “F*ck Up The Fun”, produced by in part by Diplo, features thundering drums and rapid-fire bars on Banks’ part. “NEEDSUMLOV” is an uptempo electro love song that complete with a sample of Aaliyah’s “One In A Million.” “212” sounds like less guilty pleasure and more authentic version of something LMFAO would come up with. “L8R” and bass-heavy “Runnin” are about the closest things in Banks’ catalog thus far that fits into the traditional urban music format.
IN HER OWN WORDS: “The beats are like scripts, and the raps are my monologue,” Banks told Interview magazine.