Meet our new musical obsession. Last year she hit the scene and it seems that 2012 is the year of Bank$. An American rapper who came of age in Harlem, Azealia was a theater kid, performing in Off Broadway musicals as well as involving herself in the opportunities offered by her high school, Laguardia High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. At 18 she released her debut track Gimme a Chance under the name Miss Bank$. She was signed to XL Records but left within a year due to creative conflict. It was with Interscope that she really hit her stride and with the 2011 release of her inescapable track 212 she's managed to make a serious name for herself. She was chosen to be the soundtrack for one of Theirry Mugler's Paris fashion shows and even performed at the Met Gala in May. Many a blogger commented on the look on Anna Wintour's face as Banks sang the recurring line "At least that cunt gettin' eaten" on 212. The fashion world has taken a shine to her and it's no surprise that her style is entirely emblematic of what's going on in the realm of trends. Like many rappers in the American scene she's come under some fire for her profane lyrics -- her defense ultimately boils down to the fact that she's just keeping it real. Her lyrics reflect the way she actually speaks and it's hard to argue against that. Above all the other incredibly fun swear words, Azealia's really taken the word "cunt" as her own -- her stylist came to pull some shoes from our NYC HQ and upon seeing our red Adelina uttered "that is so cunt." Clearly she's breathed new life into the word. Among other controversies surrounding her epic rise to fame, her sexuality has also been brought into question. She's explained publicly that she is in fact bisexual but has no interest in being "the lesbian rapper." Kind of reminiscent of when Nicki Minaj started getting famous -- anyone else remember when word on the street was that she was a total lez? While Nicki's definitely honed the art of building a finely tuned, artificial image, it seems Banks is a bit more down to earth and as cliche as it always is to say, it seems she actually keeps it real. She and Minaj may have a bit of a beef stirring, a few comments have been tossed into the media ring, but the differences between the two are endless. There's enough room in the global music arena for two over the top, incredible, inspired-by-Lil-Kim rappers -- and we desperately need more kick ass femmes on our iPods. There is such a raw power to Banks, a strength that isn't as represented as it should be among female performing artists. She's gritty, so street and drop dead gorgeous. I mean really, she's just so cunt. Pick up her newest record 1991 ASAP. 212 the hit [caption id="attachment_9756" align="aligncenter" width="482" caption="PAPER MAGAZINE COVER"][/caption] LIQUORISH BAMBI the track Mugler used for his Paris fashion show GIMME A CHANCE her first ever release