Live Review: Azealia Banks – Heaven, London (February 27, 2012)
New York’s latest rap phenomenon, Azealia Banks, has attracted a massive amount of attention this year for her infectious beats and filthy lyrics. Her video for banging electro-hop anthem '212', with its cheeky verses and flawless production, was banned from YouTube due to rights issues – which only led to further buzz, as the video was hosted on multiple other sites, attracting millions of views...
Last night, Harlem’s Azealia Banks headlined her first London show ahead of her forthcoming debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, and the ample venue was packed with young fans eager to see if she can live up to expectations. The rapper was clearly keen to raise a smile and there were vendors handing out free pink candyfloss and selling cute T-shirts emblazed with her naughty lyrics.
As soon as Banks sashayed on stage, it was clear to see that we were in the presence of a star. Never missing a beat, she launched into a short but sweet set of her catchy, expletive-ridden rhymes with her talented tour DJ, Cosmo, providing the beats. The pair had energy to spare and their onstage chemistry was simply electric. Rare for live hip-hop, the audience heard every word, and Banks’ butter-wouldn’t-melt grin – combined with her very foul mouth – won over the curious audience. She interacted sweetly with the crowd, getting the girls shouting along to 'Barbie S**t'.
She also thanked everyone for their support, "even those of you who downloaded that s**t for free." She sang too, stunning everyone with an acapella rendition of Amy Winehouse’s version of 'Valerie'. But the highlight of the night was always going to be '212', and the audience shouted along to every word with joy. As the track’s frenetic Latin beat reached its climax, hundreds of lilac and pink balloons fell from the ceiling. Azealia Banks has arrived!
Words: Laura Vevers (@LauraV88)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)