The fact is, if my house was the planet’s butthole, than New York would be its mind. Innovative, creative, exciting and more or less the place where it all happens. Don’t get me wrong, cities like London, Dusseldorf, Tokyo and Seoul have in most respects just as much to give to the world’s cultural mixing bowl as the great NY, but none of them quite beat New York.
New Yorkers have always been on the edge of things, if it wasn’t too preoccupied with creating Hip Hop, it was coming up with something else – salsa, punk rock and disco anyone? In the 1990s, revolutionary albums like Nas’s ‘Illmatic’ & Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Ready to Die’ blew up not only the American east coast, but the entire world; creating a city fixed up for the 21st Century whose genius would bring the world Immortal Technique, Mos Def and Jay-Z. That’s one hell of a resume for any city.
But one single reason why New York natives have more than ever something to shake about, it’s the one and only Azealia Banks. After receiving the blessing of NME in the shape of ‘2011′s Coolest Person of the Year’ (despite having little reason to do so) the young rapunzel has seen her momentum snowball ever since. Framing her hype around her centerpiece club-pleaser ’212′ – a track anchored by its memorising accelerated rhymes – she’s managed to fuse her classically trained performing arts past with a distinct fiesty attitude that only a New York girl would have. Tracks like ‘Liquorice’ , ‘L8R’ and ‘Van Vogue’ cement her flow and choice of beats as one of the catchiest and rawest around right now. Despite being only 21, her content is a cut above the rest in terms of maturity; managing to steer away from the playground bitchin’ of Minaj’s ‘Stupid Hoe’, here’s a girl who’s fun not laughable, dead serious but not classroom boring.
But essentially, it’s the almost absurdity of the fact that despite going viral across the Atlantic in the UK and Europe, in contrast, the Harlem rapstress has gone commercially unnoticed in her native US. It’s this, I think, that the city of NY should hold its head up highest about. The ability to produce a varied experimental sound – and export it. You guys might not like it, but you’re willing to share. Cheers guys.