5 Things Azealia Banks Can Do To Save Her Fading Career
Azealia Banks’ young career was once filled with so much promise. Now it appears to be filled with very little. Following this week’s premiere of “Yung Rapunxel,” her eardrum-piercing first ‘official’ single (listen below), it seems the writing may be on the wall. Her appeal has largely worn off and she’s headed right off the cliff.
Which sucks, because we think there’s some talent hidden deep within that fiery soul of hers. Unfortunately, ever since she first rose to attention — off the still-brilliant “212” — she’s done almost everything in her power to annoy the living shit out of anyone and everyone who might have propped her up as the next “it” girl in the first place.
To be fair, that’s a title Ms. Banks may have never asked for, and she — like many stars who attain fame through the Internet and its related hype machine circle jerk — may have had too much praise heaped on her too quickly. Outside of inflated and overly-analyzed social media metrics that would have you believe that people care, there was probably very little reason to slap this girl’s face on magazine covers and the like. But fuck it, the press is the living definition of ‘thirst’ and if someone offered to put your face on a magazine you’d unleash your inner-narcissist in a second.
That’s not to say we don’t dig Azealia or feel she deserves some credit. In fact, as a new artist she’s pretty good. Not great, but good, certainly. Still, you’re only as hot as your last hit and the last time we checked, she only had one to her name — “212.” Because that’s still the only song people really know Azealia Banks by. And her material since, while creatively adventurous, has been largely subpar.
Look, when we write the story of hip-hop there are thousands of artists who’ve managed to jump their careers off by hopping on a hot beat and kicking some cool rhymes. It’s what they do or don’t do after that point that determines whether they stick around or not.
Azealia, here are 5 things you can do to make sure the 15 minutes of fame you’ve got right now aren’t your last. We know you’ll say we’re corny and irrelevant — because that’s what you do when people don’t agree with you — but trust us, we care. And these things will work.
1. Delete your Twitter account… for good
You deleted your Twitter last year and probably should have left the microblogging site alone for good back then. Because that’s where a lot of your troubles start. While entertaining and thoughtful at times, your tweets are regularly used to fire off at your detractors. There’s a point where it’s justified and another where’s it’s annoying. Lately it’s the latter. Yes, the press likes to pull tweets and make up stories and yes, that’s incredibly wack. But if you know this, why are you still giving them that ammunition? Just stop tweeting. Problem solved.
To Perez Hilton. To Angel Haze. To Diplo. To Kreayshawn. To Jim Jones. To the Stone Roses. To Rita Ora. To Iggy Azalea. To T.I. To Lil Kim. To Nicki Minaj. To Baauer. To the music press. Fuck it, apologize to everyone. Even if you think every person you’ve beefed with thus far is a profoundly talentless wretch, corny and you find them horrible as both artists and people. Apologize. Apologize sincerely — even to the ones you’ve already apologized to — because then there will be nothing petty in the way that people can hold against you.
3. Get over yourself.
You went from tastemakers cosigning you, to the music press cosigning you, to the Internet cosigning you, to the fashion world cosigning you, to the major labels cosigning you, to the streets cosigning you. And now? You’re the only one cosigning you. Stop hyping yourself and your music. What bubble are you living in? Everything you’ve done of late has been just okay. “212” blew organically because it was unexpected and awesome. Difficult as it might be, surprise us with something that truly is awesome. Don’t just give us something that’s sort of good and tell us it’s awesome.
4. Answer this question — am I a rapper or not?
When you first disappeared from Twitter, you bemoaned being seen as a rapper. You wanted to be known as a vocalist instead. Cool. But why is all your music super rapped-out if you don’t want to be known as a rapper? You’ve got all these up-tempo dance beats and you’re rapping on them fast — not in a good way, like say, Twista — and well, it’s just not that appealing. Yes, they show off your rapping skills and that’s nice, but you can do that sort of thing on production that works better to showcase that. And let’s say you want to rap and sing, as you’ve done thus far — well, respectfully, your voice needs a little work. Even on “212,” to quote the great Randy Jackson, “You’re pitchy, dawg.”
5. Make another hit record
“212” is almost two years old and the original Lazy Jay track “Float My Boat” — which was cleverly jacked for its soundbed — dates back two years before that. We get that you’ve been trying to do something that mixes late 80s ballroom vogue with new school flows. That’s commendable. But shit, do whatever you gotta do. Call whoever you gotta call — Diplo, Afrojack, David Guetta, Dr. Luke, Dr. Dre — somebody! Seriously. The conceptual bit is awesome but it doesn’t work without the music to back it up. You just need a hot beat. Right now, that’s what is seriously lacking. In fact, you can probably skip numbers 1-4 if you can nail this. If you have smash records, nobody cares about anything else and you can go on doing whatever the heck it is you want to do.