Slava P is team Ashley Banks.
The first week of 2013 loosely carried the theme of resurgence. The timid Dipset boost brought on by two sub-par Cam’Ron songs and the promise of a Juelz Santana mixtape; the possibility of a Lil’ Wayne rebirth that has nothing to do with Rebirth; the fact that major magazines are still talking about “Snoop Lion” with a straight face. These are all signs that we appreciate an artist pulling themselves up by their Louboutin bootstraps in order to re-invent themselves and sell music to the masses. But that’s not how it’s supposed to go. Gangsta’s aren’t supposed to transform themselves, they’re supposed to get chubby and move to Miami while leaving a viable lane for the new generation to come through. So what happens when those ‘legends’ choose to stick around past their expiration date? They get out-shined. Pop-quiz: who rapped these lyrics?
Fine, feminine – I whip that woop
Dram-Drama? Niggas get that deuce.
Ram-bam-a-lamma flip that loot.
Gam champ – her jiggy jam on loop.
Damn fam, what ya man gon do?
I get it when I whip that woop
I spend it when I spend that loot
The internal rhymes and repetitive cadence, combined with onomatopoeic syllable choices would lead you to believe it’s s an early aughts Cam’ron song, but it’s actually Azealia Bank’s new single, “BBD.” I know that it’s hard to discuss Ms. Banks without mentioning her ever-present beefs, so let’s get something out of the way: Angel Haze can rap, but she lacks the creative vision of Azealia. At best, her ceiling is to be this generation’s Rah Digga or an eventual Young Money replacement for when Nicki Minaj comes to her senses and gets her own label. Plus, when you’ve crafted your “Ether” diss and included mentions of GQ parties and shots at Terry Richardson, can you ever be considered the winner?
I know that the online community seems to think that Angel Haze won because her lyrics were more spiteful and venomous, but the fact is that even in the heat of war, Azealia would rather create music that’s true to her style. I doubt Azealia would ever release an unmixed song, regardless of how powerful it might be. Plus, Angel Haze’s ammunition doesn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about Banks: she’s difficult to work with and she likes old men. And who brags about how little time it takes them to finish their album?
What gets lost in all of the criticism thrown at Banks is that her goal from the start was to make good music that’s different and she’s invested herself heavily within the culture of producers who are doing experimental things with the hip-hop sound. Her first song featured a video cameo from Jacques Greene and she regularly uses beats from guys like Lunice, Hudson Mohawke and Machinedrum, who aren’t necessarily EDM guys but restless alchemists with roots in hip hop, who were branded dubstep due to proximity. This isn’t like A$AP Rocky covering all of his bases by putting a “dubstep DJ du jour” song on the album, this is Azealia using her taste to hand-pick the collaborators she wants to make sweet seapunk art with. In addition, Ms. Banks is helping giving some of these guys a look into the hip-hop world — a much more minor version of what Jay-Z did when he brought Just Blaze, 9th Wonder and Kanye West into the game with The Blueprint & The Black Album.
“BBD” is the first helping off of Azealia’s ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’ project due out later this year, and it’s the same high-tempo lyricism we’ve come to expect from her 2012 projects. Whether it’s a nod to the new-jack-swing group of the 90’s or a loud proclamation that yes, bad bitches do in fact do it, “BBD” grabs you by the sides of the head from the opening rhythm and doesn’t let go. This is essentially what would Killa Cam would have done had he been around for the EDM craze, and since Ms. Banks is currently coming of age with electronic music, she is effectively taking a huge dump on any prospective new fans that Cam’ron is might attract. It’s like what’s going to happen in 20 years when we go to the store to buy a carton of chocolate milk, only to find out that it’s been replaced by hydrogenated dairy paste that tastes, like, a trillion times better.
Will Azealia Banks be around forever? Maybe if she sold her soul like Wale, but I think it’s more likely that Azealia continues to slaughter the female/overall rap game for a few years before fading into obscurity (not quietly, I’d wager). What matters most is what she’s doing now, and simply put, she’s killing it. So while the old guard grasps at straws to remain relevant and the new throws shots at anyone just slightly more established in the hopes of fame, the 21 year old Harlemite will continue to invite you to eat her cunt.