Whether lacing a twitchy track with bitch-slapping bon mots ("212") or conceiving a video with more seamlessly shifty ideas than a dozen other so-called pop divas ("1991") or laying waste to the lobby of a Brooklyn Hotel, as she did Wednesday night, Azealia Banks is a flurry of activity. Or to be more precise, retroactivity, as if she's a human flipbook who’s always jerking backwards and forwards, updating Madonna’s cone-bra bustier better than Madonna, stripping Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" to its rat-a-tat essence, treating Paris Is Burning like modern American pop’s urtext, and then emerging as so smh next-level that nobody in the mainstream has the slightest idea what to do with her. And thank God for that. They should be listening to her, instead.
All of which is why, of course, SPIN chose the Harlem-bred hot-spot to grace the cover of our September/October "Look" issue, and headline our issue release party at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn Wednesday night (with the stylishly squalling punk trio Hunters opening). The show was also the kick-off for SPIN’s fashion-week coverage, in conjunction with our friends at the must-read, le-freak-c’est-chic website Refinery29.
Banks' performance Wednesday was relatively stark — she and her dancers were dressed in all-black and tore and through 30 minutes of material before the divas in the crowd ever stopped jostling for position. She hit it, quit it, and left us gasping. As she spits on her track "Fuck up the Fun": "Who want it, who who want it!" Well, for this fashion-week season, the answer is just about everybody.
Read Zach Baron's compelling, completist cover story of Banks' rise to the verge of pop stardom, from the September/October issue here.
And check our photo gallery of the Wythe Hotel fash-week bash here.