When Azealia Banks dropped her single Anna Wintour back in 2018 it announced the coming of a record that was capable of being an international dance floor anthem. It was deserving of the commercial success that Azealia’s break out hit and cult favourite 212 had received.
Two years on, post a critically acclaimed world tour, some outrageous press junkets and sit down interviews, and continued output of quality music, we still have no album. It’s not even known if Azealia Banks has a record deal.
Nobody can say that this artist is not incredibly talented.
Having attended New York’s prestigious LaGuardia Performing Arts High School, (fellow alumni to have walked the corridors include Liza Minnelli, Nicki Minaj, Lourdes Leon & Kelis) Azealia Banks dropped out at 17 to move to London. She signed with XL records working on a development deal with Richard Russell. Azealia was unimpressed with London the first time round so moved to Montreal to continue working on music. A cover of Interpol’s Slow Hands was uploaded onto Myspace and started to gain traction.
By 19, Azealia Banks had found herself back in New York selling keychains in a Manhattan Jazz bar and dancing at a Queens Strip club to support her music career. It was starting to look pretty bleak.
That was all about to change when Azealia Banks uploaded her debut single 212 as a free download on her website at the end of summer 2011. The song was the first of its kind to truly go viral.
Azealia would go on to record an album with Paul Epworth, perform at the likes of Art Basel and Paris fashion week, and was hailed by her fellow contempories such as Kanye West as the future of Hip-Hop.
Frustratingly, number 1 albums and Grammy awards didn’t follow as promised. Not from lack of talent or public interest; rather multiple attempts to blackball Azealia from the industry. Her treatment in the media over the past decade has been shocking. This is a highly intelligent, well-spoken, exciting artistic provocateur who is perfectly capable of having the biggest record in the world. Instead, she has been made fun of and painted as an “industry bad girl”, a narrative that is tired at this point.
Hollywood and the media has always been hungry to cover, women especially, succumbing to public meltdowns (such as ’90s Sinead O’Connor, Carey 2001, Spears 2007, Lohan 2010). In a post-social media world, it is unimaginably worse than it was for the stars of the early ’90s/00s. However, Azealia Banks has risen above, and proven she is better than this, refusing to take part in the games (see the Russell Crowe scandal as an example).
After some disasters with the likes of RZA and Kanye trying to take the reins on a full-length LP project, it’s time to go back to basics and get this album done. Only Azealia Banks, can exec produce an Azealia Banks album. However, why can’t someone get her in the studio with someone left field like a Linda Perry or Rick Rubin and secure the biggest global selling hit of 2021? Azealia is capable of producing the big-budget videos and world tour that would inevitably follow.
So, Happy Birthday, Anna Wintour. Here’s looking forward to more from this New York Underground Icon in the making.
Azealia Banks has recently dropped her new freestyle Canada Goose on SoundCloud produced by ONYX as well as Mamma Mia.