Sunday Music: Why Does Azealia Banks Still Hit So Hard

I remember having a 2012 conversation about how there was a noticeable lack of danger in pop music. I was ranting at the Billboard chart. I did a lot of ranting in those days (usually to myself, to be perfectly honest).

My argument was centered around how you could see the edge people were willing to go up to, but – “Where Have You Been” and “We Found Love” were already stoned on the dance floor, “Starships” was just great as a pop crossover, and “Somebody That I used to Know,” “Call Me Maybe,” and “We Are Young” were so… fine, just so, suburban depressing? 

Gimme danger, (and make it a) little stranger. Push a safety pin through something. Let it bleed.

The artist that was making me say, “There, like that!” was also making quotes like, “I’m the rap Larry David. Always complaining.” Azealia Banks had danger. Which is really hard to do with stepped drum machines and Casio keyboard-type sounds, but she did it. I guess those were her safety pins. Culture.

I stumbled across her latest single, “New Bottega” on my phone the other day and hearing her go off just took me back. If you’re funny about explicitness, skip these, but if you wondered who was (and still is) bringing that Iggy energy, she’s something else. 

Check out the 2023 single, and for good measure, “212 FT. LAZY JAY” which is still delightfully out of control. Anybody else still get MC Paul Barman vibes from that middle section? And come on, this is pre-Cardi and peak-Nicki adjacent, you have to respect it.