Azealia Banks

Topping NME’s Cool List for 2011, Harlem rapper Azealia Banks breakthrough single ‘212’ not only broke through, but blew away critics who lauded the 20 year old’s vocal versatility and seemingly effortless switches in character and style. Her You Tube video has attracted over 18 million views. Banks’ box fresh delivery belies hip-hop and hard-edged rhymes with all the power, depth and energy of the origins of rap. She is, put simply, something all too rare these days: a game changer. She has recently duetted with icon of hip hop Missy Elliott, and this month released EP 1991 (the year of her birth) in which the influences of 70s hip hop and its block party origins is clear, as is the sense that she too could have been one of those young rappers who grabbed a microphone to go on to superstardom. Tracks like ‘Van Vogu’e and ‘212’ are signs of a new wave of all-female hip-hop that combines the powerful rush of the genre with a knowingness that is absolutely now.

Pierfrancesco Pacoda

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