Azealia Banks at Coachella, April 21, 2012
One assumes that thousands of people shouting, "I guess that cunt getting eaten" in unison has never happened at Coachella before. Yet you could hear just that yesterday during Azealia Banks' set; it was afternoon, and most of us weren't even drunk yet.Last September, the Harlem rapper broke out with the video to her song "212." And it was with good reason: in cutoff jean shorts, a Mickey Mouse sweater and braided pigtails, the 20-year-old is the picture of innocence -- until she caps her first verse with the above chant. In the following months, she's pushed boundaries and found a fan in Kanye West.
We didn't know what to expect from her set yesterday, but we had high hopes; she strode onstage in an outfit from the year she was born, 1991: shiny pleather shortalls with one strap undone a la Kriss Kross, a neon orange mesh top revealing electrical tape pasties and black combat boots. Maybe it was the outfit, her long, crimped red wig, or just her crotch-grabbing, but she had us thinking about Lil' Kim.
Of course, like most '90s babies-turned-rappers, Banks incorporates more than just hip-hop into her persona. She didn't have a hype man, but she did have two dancers vogueing -- an inspired touch, considering the dance originated in Harlem's house music community, and her sound owes much to the genre.