For someone who has yet to release a proper album, 21-year-old Harlem rapper-singer Azealia Banks has stirred up an impressive amount of trouble over the past year.
Banks blurs the lines between hip-hop, contempo Caribbean club music and electronica, and possesses a genuine Id-driven unpredictability. The self-described “rap Larry David” is set to air even more grievances — and shoot for a real spot in the pop-rap firmament — when her full-length debut drops in early 2013.
A dropout from Gotham’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, Banks first attracted attention with 2009’s Diplo-produced single “Seventeen.” The resulting buzz was loud enough to get Banks signed to XL Recordings, though she quickly and publicly burned her bridges with the label. She was then scooped up by Interscope just as her relentlessly profane single “212” made her a household name last winter, breaking into the top 20 on the U.K. charts.
Since then, the pugnacious Banks has notched up a jaw-dropping set at Coachella; stirred up teapot Twitter tempests with Iggy Azalea, T.I., Jim Jones and many others; threatened to quit rap; signed with, then abruptly parted ways with, Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter; placed third on the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll; cut tracks with M.I.A. and Lana Del Rey; and released Interscope EP “1991” to a Billboard Hot 200 berth, followed by mixtape “Fantasea” in July.