Revo Radar: Azealia Banks

Harlem rapper or electro artist?

Born in NYC and raised in Harlem, rapper/singer Azealia Banks has been building up the hype. With her hit single “212″ still making the rounds, Ms. Banks is best known for her dirty, quick-witted rhymes – too dirty to be put onto the radio. But when look you behind her rapid-fire wordplay and sexual disses, the beats she works off of have an extreme electro influence, almost to the point where her tracks no longer seem like rap, but more like ready-made club hits.

This isn’t exactly a new trend. Rappers have been using beats from electro DJs for years to chart-topping success. Flo Rida’s single “Good Feeling”, which samples “Levels” by Avicii, has been a hit for months. David Guetta’s album Nothing But the Beat was a smorgasbord of collaborations with R&B and hip-hop artists. On “212″, Ms. Banks uses the track “Float My Boat” by Lazy Jay as her backing beat, and her rapping is basically just overlaid without any alterations to the original instrumentals.

I guess what strikes me the most about Ms. Banks are some of the tracks off her latest EP 1991. The opening and title track is a direct homage to 90s French house, to the point where she stops seeming like a Harlem rapper and more like a chic model walking down a runway. The same goes for the other tracks on the EP. With all her music relying off heavy dance beats, is she a hip-hop rapper or an electro-rapper? Or does this even matter at all anymore?

In the internet era, where any kind of music can fly back and forth without any physical restrictions, does genre really matter? Artists and fans aren’t forced to stick to their respective genre sections of the record store, anyone can jump style without having to change records on their turntable. Artists like Azealia Banks are a perfect example of this cross-pollination and show that in today’s music scene, all that matters is the quality of your beat. Azealia Banks has a mixtape scheduled to drop next month, and a full album titled Broke, with Expensive Taste due in the fall.

By Will Sandercock

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