Well, this is a dumb way to start the year. As you may have read by now, two of the albums we’re most looking forward to in 2013 are full-length debuts by local rappers Azealia Banks and Angel Haze. While Azealia’s been fussing with it for a long time, her record Broke With Expensive Taste seems to finally be just about to drop. While fewer details are known about Haze’s album, the speed and hunger with which she’s been putting out material suggest we won’t be waiting on it for long. Coming to attention after the boom of Banks’ “212”, Haze has been totally intertwined with her in the press, for reasons of demographic similarity more than resemblance in their rapping styles. Which is sort of lazy and unfair. But given bigger sample sizes of their work, and a little time to carefully consider, the discussion over each might have eventually settled into a focus on their own specific merits? That would have been nice, anyway.
Yesterday, the two engaged in a savage, stupid Twitter beef, as Haze bristled over Banks’ casual dissing of transplants to the city immediately claiming NYC. The Michigan-born maker of Best-of-2012 track “New York” got a little sensitive about it, threatening to shank Banks through her “iridescent bubble jacket”. Which, OK, is a little bit funny, but are we allowed to be depressed that we have to live with the knowledge that our badass rap crush has the raw nerve hurt feeling reactions of a middle schooler? That couldn’t be private? Ensuring that it would not stay private in the least, Haze then released an immediate diss track to the Internet, which she made in 20 minutes. What she sprinted out is undeniably impressive…
B.I.G. samples and Atari gurgling sound good together, and “Ghetto Easter Bunny” is a pretty funny burn. And the loose, giggly, shit-kicker vibe, whether it was meant as a direct parody of Banks’ style or not, hits the mark anyway. But even playing into the narrative of direct competition between two young female artists, over such low stakes Twitter shit, is kind of disappointing, right? Because, chill out for a second. Thinking cynically, it does insert her into the conversation at a moment when Banks is poised for her solo turn in the spotlight. Because also, just yesterday (a big day!), Banks released her first track of 2013, “BBD”.
I like it. Banks’ flow often bends towards same-sound alliteration that mixes her shark-eyed bravado with silly pop nonsense that’s appealingly old fashioned in a way. (She might as well be saying “Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong” in places.) It makes Haze’s needling over the delays involved in making Broke With Expensive Taste seem kind of arbitrary? This probably took more than 20 minutes to finish, anyway.