Azealia Banks – Rap Star or Smoking Scandal?

Azealia Banks 212

Be it punchy lyrics fuelled by profanities, or an explicit magazine cover, Azealia Banks knows how to get the public attention. But when you strip away the scandal can this young rapper stand strong?

Banks stormed into our play lists with her hit single ‘212’, in a whirlwind of urban chic and quirky style. While undeniably catchy, you have to question how much the infamous lyrical choices contributed to its success. The blatant shock-tactics definitely gave everyone something to talk about. It spiced up the music scene and challenged what we can consider acceptable.

Not one to keep quiet for long, this month Azealia shocked us once more with a front cover shoot for Dazed and Confused magazine. The image shows Banks ‘smoking’ on a blown up pink condom, and is accompanied by the caption: “Azealia Banks Blows Up.” Dazed and Confused announced on Twitter that the Banks cover had been banned in 7 countries, before it had even been released.

As expected, the public took to the Internet to track down the image, speculation spread, and we awaited its release. Once again Azealia stirs up a scandal; this star certainly certainly knows how to keep herself the centre of attention!

Yet criticism has aroused, and the cover is deemed to be nothing special. We’ve all seen much worse, and I can’t really see what all the fuss was about. Excuse the pun, but this was definitely blown out of proportion.

In spite of this the ban remains in some countries, and even some UK stockists have to reverse the magazine to hide the cover in their displays. This just goes to show that the line of acceptability is blurred, and you can never be too sure on which side something will fall.

Without the controversy surrounding the cover would it have been as popular? In my opinion, it’s doubtful. Throw out the keywords ‘banned’ and ‘controversial’ and the Internet becomes a frenzy of frantic searchers looking for the latest scandal. Everyone scoured the Internet and magazine stands to see whether the image of Azealia Banks was worthy of such a label.

Could this be all Azealia has to offer? Is her success based on shock tactics? She’s a rebel with a cause, who’s pushing the boundaries in every direction and reaping the benefits. Are fans waiting in anticipation for the next Banks outburst, or are they starting to see through the scandalous smoke-screen?

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