This Is Our Jam: Azealia Banks, “212”

Azealia Banks begins “212” rapping over an uptempo breakbeat, then slips in and out of squeaky electro, changes cadence completely, sings a syrupy pop interlude, and ends without breaking sweat. It’s a hip-hop tour de force that’s impossible to take in with just one listen. Like Missy Elliot or Nicki Minaj, Banks sees rap as a gleeful performance act, where she can shape her rhymes to coil around any beat that comes at her. There’s a chilled-out way that Banks inflects the word “dude,” that somehow manages to become one the best hip-hop moments I’ve heard this year. Like Minaj, Banks attended La Guardia High School of Performing Arts and has a similar preternatural ability to do anything she wants, whenever she wants (her young career has already seen her on a Major Lazer EP and covering Interpol). The point is not what she can do, but what she decides to do. Hopefully it’s more tracks like “212.” (Azealia Banks via Pitchfork)

Azealia Banks

All music is for sampling purposes only. Please go out and buy the artists' records. If you would like for us to remove a track, please email us at

More from Entertainment

R29 Original Series