by Israel Mejia
photography by Marc Pilaro | fashion by Maleeka Moss
Over the years, Azealia Banks has established herself as one of the most promising musicians of our generation. However, her career has become almost synonymous with controversy, as the media has painted a negative picture of the complex character. We sit down with the New York City prodigy to discuss her musical process, the double-standards against black women in the music industry, and why you shouldn’t count her out just yet. Don’t call it a comeback.
It was only a couple of years ago that Azealia Banks wowed the world with her painfully catchy, undeniably infectious hit, “212.” With witty lyrics and uncompromising sass, highlighted by “she really went there” expletives, Banks proved her potential as one of the most talented female rappers of all time. We all anxiously awaited the songstress’ full-length album, when she would ideally rise above social media spats and put her money where her mouth is. Well, that day has finally come. And Azealia’s doing more than just justifying her extra dose of confidence; she just about murdered any competition, while she blew critics out of the water.
With her breakout hit, “212” and plenty of other killer tracks off her “Fantasea” mixtape, it seemed like one of fashion’s recent it-girls, Azealia Banks was poised to be an iconic MC. She recently cleared up a series of public feuds with fellow celebs, and the songstress subsequently went into overdrive in the production of her full-length album, “Broke With Expensive Taste.” Though the release date has been repeatedly pushed back (it was previously scheduled for March of this year), we’re finally starting to here some fresh new jams from Ms. Banks.
In case you could ever forget Azealia’s supreme flow and clever lyrics, she just reminded us why we initially fell in love with her latest, “Heavy Metal & Reflective.” Produced by Lil Internet, who also worked on “Yung Rapunxel,” the track features a contagiously catchy, space-age sound that plays behind the perfectly monotone rap. And within 24 hours of its release, “Heavy Metal & Reflective” already rose to number one on the Twitter Trending 140. The music video is set to release soon, too; if it’s anything like her other videos, it’s bound to be perfection. It’s safe to say that Azealia Banks is back in the game and here to stay.
Listen to “Heavy Metal & Reflective” by Azealia Banks below!
Feature photo courtesy MTV
Unfortunately, another summer is coming to an end. As we reflect on all the great times we’ve had over the past few months, music plays a huge part. Sure, plenty of people have been discussing the biggest songs of the summer, but there’s a lot more out there other than Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” or “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus. Check out our top picks for the somewhat less recognized hottest songs of summer 2013!
“Watch Out For This” – Major Lazer
Nothing brings the good vibes of summer quite like a little Jamaican dancehall. Leave it to Diplo and friends to spice up the Caribbean-inspired sound with a taste of EDM, resulting in this fun track that invites nonstop dancing from its listeners.
“Clarity” – Zedd (Brillz Remix)
This was definitely an EDM-filled summer. Okay, so Zedd’s “Clarity” has been all but overplayed throughout the larger portion of this year. But Brillz revamps the tired tune with this remix, transforming the track into a trap masterpiece. This style has been growing insanely popular lately, and we couldn’t love it any more.
“Mirror Maru” – Cashmere Cat
Keeping things in the trap music spectrum, this solely instrumental piece provides the perfect balance of chill and hyphy. It’s hard to describe the smooth, almost fashionable mood that comes with the song, but whatever it is feels great.
“Venus” – Paul Oakenfold and Azealia Banks
Azealia Banks knows how to bring something fresh to the music scene, hence her immense popularity before even releasing a full album yet. Throw international DJ Paul Oakenfold into the mix, and you’ve got a sensational dance-meets-hip-hop mélange. The original version (above) is much less “sensory overload” than the Ibiza edition, while few things are as pleasing as Banks’ vocal skills juxtaposed with her perfect flow. The French dialogue doesn’t hurt, either.
Azealia Banks just won’t seem to slow down, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s been incessantly releasing singles and music videos during the past year, the latest being “Yung Rapunxel.” I’m not going to go into detail about how she’s one of the sickest MC’s at the moment or how she looks fantastic even when her eyes are replaced with mouths, because the only time she ever disappoints me is when she gets into one of her Twitter wars. To be frank, the bitch is crazy and I love it. Watch the “Yung Rapunxel” video (above) and you’ll see where I’m coming from.