When Azealia Banks hit the music scene in 2011 with her debut single “212” she quickly became one of the most talked-about names in hip-hop. Although she was just 18 years old at the time, Azealia seemed like she was ready to take on the world. Her debut EP, 1991, was released the following year and things really started to take off for the young artist. Unfortunately, however, Azealia’s career never took off the way she and others hoped. A series of public outbursts and issues with other artists essentially derailed Azealia’s career. While some people have completely written her off, there are others that still have faith that she will rise to her full potential. In the meantime, she has plenty of good songs for us to enjoy. Here are the 10 best Azealia Banks songs of all time.
When you’re trying to make it in the music industry you need to come out of the gate swinging, and that’s exactly what Azealia Banks did when she released “212”. The uptempo song was fun and catchy and it was the perfect thing to get people up out of their seats. In the song, Azealia found the perfect balance between spitting bars and letting the beat breathe. On top of that, even 10 years after its release “212” still slaps whenever it comes on.
2. Grand Scam
“Grand Scam” may not be one of Azealia’s most popular releases, but it’s one of her best. The song is just over a minute and a half long, but Azealia managed to pack a lot into that small window of time. The song is on-brand with her witty and unique style of rapping and she does a great job of building simple yet creative rhyme schemes.
“Fierce” was released on Azealia’s debut mixtape, Fantasea. As the title suggests, the song is absolutely fierce and that’s exactly how you’re going to feel when you listen to it. The beat has the perfect tempo for walking down the most fabulous runway or strutting through the club.
4. Anna Wintour
Named after the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine, Anna Wintour has all of the elements you’d expect from a song named after a fashion icon. The beat is fun and Azealia’s vocals are sultry and smooth. Instead of her distinct fast-paced rapping, Azealia spends a good portion of the song singing.
If there’s one thing that’s true about Azealia Banks’ music, it’s that it always seems to age well, and “Liquorice” is a great example. Even though the song is almost 10 years old, it still sounds fresh and futuristic. The song is an anthem for dark-skinned women everywhere as Azealia raps “These bitches know that I be on that black girl shit/That black girl pin-up with that black girl dip/Put that black girl spin up on ya whack girl tip/ Ain’t official till it been up in that black girl kit.” This verse also pays homage to fellow rapper Nicki Minaj by borrowing her flow from “Kill Da DJ”
Even though Azealia Banks is a rapper, she has had club music in a choke hold since she made her debut. “Soda” is the kind of song you could expect to hear at a packed night club. The beat is infectious and Azealia’s verses feature her signature fast paced style.
7. The Big Big Beat
If there’s anyone who knows how to brag on a beat while still making you want to get up and dance, it’s Azealia Banks. In “The Big Big Beat” Azealia’s energy is confident and fun and she abosloutely bodies a beat that many rappers wouldn’t date even try to rap over.
8. Ice Princess
Most of Azealia Banks’ songs feature house/techno beats, but “Ice Princess” has a sound that most would consider to be more traditionally hip-hop. One of the things that’s so great about this song is that it perfectly highlights Azealia’s versatility as an artist. People may be used to hearing her sound one way, but this song proves that she can easily switch it up.
9. Ima Read
Some may find “Ima Read” to be a strange addition to the list since technically it’s not really an Azealia Banks song. “Ima Read” is was originally released by an artist named Zebra Katz. Although Azealia’s version is only a little longer than a minute, she came in and did what needed to be done within that 60 seconds.
10. Van Vogue
Some artists find it hard to come up with quality lyrics when rapping over beats that could easily steal the show. Azealia Banks never seems to struggle with this though. Every time she hopes on a song, she manages to find the perfect balance and that’s exactly what happens with “Van Vogue”.