Live Review: Azealia Banks @ Hoxton Square, London – 6 November

“I'm a bit nervous, y'all a good looking crowd.” Despite this shy admittance (modesty being an uncommon trait in Hip-hop), Azealia Banks has little to fear. Beginning entirely acapella, her flow is seamless and visceral; she barks and bites whilst retaining an alluring coyness that's utterly compelling. The beats are predominantly minimal, almost tribal, full of bitter wit. Tracks like Runnin' and L8R flirt with old school Missy vibes and Dirty South Crunk. After bellowing out another aca

pella, this time covering The Zutons'/Amy Winehouse’s Valerie, she wraps up with her infamous debut 212, bursting with sexual aggression and moving effortlessly into a cover of The Prodigy’s Firestarter; ending with ease and aplomb. An unproblematic debut performance then. Even so, it is interesting to speculate where Banks may be headed. On the one hand, she could be snapped up as a Nicki Minaj lite, attempting hyper-sexed slow jams and only occasionally unleashing her riotous and ferocious raps (see her cover of Interpol’s Slow Hands). On the other, she could revert to her bombastic crunk, potentially ending any critical and commercial success. We’ll just have to wait and see.


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