I love Azealia Banks, figuratively more than literally (but definitely both).
Azealia has turned her status as a moderate YouTube sensation into cold hard cash, having just signed a deal with Universal Records. It will be interesting to see where she takes it. She is currently in London working on her debut album, and has teamed-up with Paul Epworth, producer extraordinaire of Adele‘s amazing sophomore album 21. Hopefully, the results will be similarly successful.
I’m singing Azealia’s praises because I love real hip hop and Azealia’s got the goods. She’s a talented lyricist with a quick-witted, twirling, conversational style. She avoids the traps of the gangsta-girl persona, instead providing an insightful peek into the mind of a young, urban twenty-something just making her way in the modern world, delving with aplomb into the intricacies of relationships, safe-sex, infidelity, and female independence. Oh, and she LOVES cunnilingus. More power to her.
My only criticism–and it’s a relatively minor one–is that she hasn’t fully developed her own unique voice. She lingers too long in the usual fare: She laughs at women who want a man to provide for them (or who think she can’t take their men at will). A recently admitted bi-sexual, she proudly uses men and women alike for her sexual gratification. And she assures us that her sexual prowess is more than enough to separate even the smoothest talkers from their salaries. She is pleasant to look at, so I’m somewhat inclined to believe her, but what’s interesting isn’t what she says so much as how she says it.
Her lyrics are equal parts confidence, charismatic hustle, and lewd sexuality–but always with a wink. She can play the selfish heart-breaker convincingly, but you can’t help but feel her own heart isn’t quite as cold as she’s making out.
In the end, I’m a fan because she’s provocative and she’s fun, the two things that make rap music great. Azealia Banks may not be groundbreaking…so far. But she is young and talented and is aligning herself with other talented people. And that is always the best combination.