Azealia Banks (age: 27) is a rapper, singer-songwriter, and actress known for Extended Play 1991, album Broke with Expensive Taste and the mixtape Slay-Z.
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Azealia Banks Bio
Azealia Banks (born May 31, 1991) is an American rapper, Singer-songwriter, and Actress. Raised in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Banks began releasing Music through MySpace in 2008, eventually being signed to XL Recordings at age 17. After releasing her debut single “212”, she secured a recording contract with Interscope and Polydor Records, and later released her first extended play 1991 (2012). Banks’ debut studio album Broke with Expensive Taste was released in 2014. In 2016, she released the mixtape Slay-Z. Her sophomore album is due to be released on October 31, 2017. Banks’ outspoken Views and controversial social media presence have been the subject of media scrutiny throughout her career.
Early life and career beginnings
Azealia Amanda Banks was born on May 31, 1991 in Manhattan. Her mother raised her and two older sisters in Harlem, after their father died of Pancreatic cancer when she was two years old. Following her father’s death, Banks says that her mother “became really abusive—physically and Verbally. Like she would hit me and my sisters with baseball bats, bang our heads up against walls, and she would always tell me I was ugly. I remember once she threw out all the food in the fridge, just so we wouldn’t have anything to eat.” Due to escalating Violence, Banks moved out of her mother’s home at age 14 to live with her older sister.At a young age Banks became interested in Musical theater, dancing, acting and singing. At the age of sixteen, Banks starred in a production of the comedy-noir Musical City of Angels, where she was found by an agent and sent on auditions for TBS, Nickelodeon, and Law & Order, all without success. It was at this point that Banks decided to end her pursuit of an acting career, citing the large amount of competition and overall sense of unfulfillment as reasons for her retirement. Because of this, Banks began writing rap and R&B songs as a creative outlet. She never finished high school, instead choosing to follow her dream of becoming a recording artist.
Under the moniker ‘Miss Bank$’, she released her debut recording “Gimme a Chance” on to the internet on November 9, 2008. The recording was accompanied by the self-produced track “Seventeen”, which sampled the Ladytron song of the same name. Banks sent both tracks to American DJ Diplo. Later that year, Banks signed a development deal with record label XL Recordings and began working with producer Richard Russell in London, leaving the label later that year due to conflicting ideas.
2011–2012: 1991 and Fantasea
Main articles: 1991 (EP) and Fantasea (mixtape)Richard (Russell) was cool, but as soon as I didn’t want to use his beats, it got real sour. He wound up calling me “amateur” and the XL interns started talking shit about me. It just got real fucking funny. I was like, “I didn’t come here for a date. I came here to cut some fucking records.” I got turned off on the Music industry and disappeared for a bit. I went into a bit of a depression.—Banks talking of her departure from XL RecordingsFollowing her departure from XL Recordings, Banks left behind the ‘Miss Bank$’ moniker and formally became Azealia Banks, which preceded a move to Montreal. Using YouTube as a portal, Banks uploaded several demo tracks—including “L8R” and a cover of “Slow Hands” by Interpol. After her Canadian Visa expired, Banks returned to New York, where she sold key chains at a Manhattan jazz club and danced at a Queens strip club to make ends meet. “That’s when I was really depressed”, Banks says, “I don’t have a manager, I don’t have a boyfriend, I don’t have any Friends, I don’t have any money. Here I am working at the strip club, trying not to say the wrong thing and get into fights with these girls who don’t give a shit.”
In September 2011, Banks released her debut single “212” as a free digital download from her website, which was subsequently released officially on December 6, 2011, as the lead single from her EP 1991. The track attained European moderate chart success, peaking at number fourteen in the Netherlands, number Twelve in The United Kingdom and at number seven in Ireland.
Though unsigned at the time, Banks began working with British producer Paul Epworth on a debut studio album. It was announced in December 2011 that Banks would feature on “Shady Love”, a track from American band Scissor Sisters’ fourth studio album Magic Hour, though the feature would remain uncredited. An accompanying Music Video was released in January 2012 following its radio premiere from Annie Mac (BBC Radio 1) on January 4, though the release of the single was cancelled for unconfirmed reasons. Banks released the track “NEEDSUMLUV (SXLND)” on the Internet on January 16, 2012, coinciding with what would have been the thirty-third birthday of the late Singer Aaliyah, who is sampled on the track. A week later saw the emergence of a second track titled “Bambi”, which having been produced by Paul Epworth, had been selected as the soundtrack for a Mugler fashion show in Paris.
In May 2012, Banks announced plans to release a mixtape—originally titled Fantastic—titled Fantasea. Preceding its release the tracks “Jumanji“, “Aquababe”, and “Nathan” (featuring rapper Styles P) were made available online. Fantasea was released Via Banks’ Twitter account on July 11, and was succeeded by the unveiling of Banks’ online radio project, Kunt.FM the following week.Banks’ first extended play, 1991, was released in The United Kingdom on May 28 and in The United States the following day. The four-track play, of which “212” featured, was not eligible for the UK Albums Chart, but the title track charted at number seventy nine on the UK Singles Chart. It also reached 133 on the US Billboard 200, while reaching number seventeen on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, number Twelve on the Rap Albums chart, and number one on the Heatseekers Albums chart. In 2013, 1991 was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
Banks was scheduled to release her second single “Esta Noche”, from the Fantasea mixtape, on September 25, 2012, but the track was pulled the day of its release due to sampling disputes between Banks and the track’s producer Munchi. The next month, it was confirmed that Banks had worked with Lady Gaga on two tracks, titled “Ratchet” and “Red Flame” for Gaga’s third studio album, Artpop (2013), however they did not make the final album cut, and have since not been released. Banks also revealed that she collaborated with Kanye West on G.O.O.D. Music‘s compilation album, Cruel Summer, but further clarified that ultimately, her contributions did not make the final cut of the album. On December 31, 2012, Banks released a track titled “BBD”, which ultimately appeared on her debut album Broke with Expensive Taste.
2013–2016: Broke with Expensive Taste, Coco and Slay-Z
Early in 2012, Banks revealed that her debut album would be called Broke with Expensive Taste, and said that the album would include contributions from Various Musicians including Toko Yasuda, Theophilus London, Kevin Hussein, and Ariel Pink. Banks initially announced that the album’s lead single would be a track titled “Miss Amor,” and that it would be accompanied by a B-side, “Miss Camaraderie,” both produced by Lone. However, these plans changed when she later announced in January 2013 that the first official single from the album would be a song called “Yung Rapunxel,” which was released in March 2013 through SoundCloud.In May 2013, Banks announced that the second single from Broke with Expensive Taste would be “ATM Jam”, featuring Pharrell. The next month, on June 29, Banks debuted the song in a performance at the 2013 Glastonbury Festival, with New York City radio station Hot 97 premiering a clean, shortened Version of the studio recording three days later on July 2. On July 11, 2013, the full studio Version of “ATM Jam” was released on BBC Radio 1, and was released for digital download on August 30, 2013. Banks later confirmed in November 2013 that “ATM Jam” would not be appearing on Broke with Expensive Taste due to poor sales.
Banks announced in mid-July that after a long battle, she had parted ways with Universal Music Group. Banks reportedly has possession and the rights to the work she released with Interscope. On July 28, 2014, Banks released the official second single from Broke with Expensive Taste, titled “Heavy Metal and Reflective”, on her own label, Azealia Banks Records. This was followed by “Chasing Time”, the third single from the project, on September 22.(citation needed)
Banks surprise-released her debut studio album, Broke with Expensive Taste on to iTunes, on November 7, 2014, while the album got its physical release on March 3, 2015. In February 2015, Banks posed nude for the April issue of Playboy, shot by Ellen Von Unwerth. In May 2015, it was announced that Banks would be making her acting debut as the main character in the RZA-directed Musical drama film Coco. Months later, Banks revealed that she was unable to release new Music until March 2016, however, as of February 2016 she is officially cleared of her contract and able to release new Music. In February 2016, Banks released a new single, “The Big Big Beat”, with its official Video uploaded to Vevo in April. Her mixtape, Slay-Z, was released March 24, 2016.
2016–present: Fantasea II: The Second Wave, Return to Touring and CheapyXo Store
Banks announced that her next project will be Fantasea II: The Second Wave, a follow up to her 2012 mixtape Fantasea. The album is expected to be released on October 31, 2017, as stated by Banks through her private Twitter account after being postponed numerous times. She will also make her acting debut in the titular role of the 2017 film Coco, directed by RZA. In late 2016, Banks announced her business endeavors by opening up an online shopping store called Cheapy Xo. Banks sells skin-care products, clothing, and celebrity merchandise through the website. On February 17, 2017, Banks released a Lunice collaboration, titled “Crown”, to Music-streaming service SoundCloud as a promotional single, before the release of her third mixtape. On June 5, 2017, Banks released the song “Chi Chi”. On June 26, 2017, Banks released another promotional single from her third mixtape to SoundCloud titled, “Escapades”.Banks has also announced that her sophomore album tentatively titled, Business & Pleasure will be released sometime in 2018. On July 12, 2017, Banks’ 2016 mixtape “Slay-Z” was released to iTunes, Spotify, and other online Music stores under her independent record label Chaos & Glory Recordings. After a year long hiatus from touring, Banks returned to New York City to embark on a North American tour with 20 dates across the U.S. and Canada. The tour began on August 23 in New York and will conclude on October 28 in San Fransisco. Banks is also set to perform in select European dates in 2017.