The Buzz On: Azealia Banks

How many MCs can rap “I’ma ruin you, c***” in a Mickey Mouse sweater and pigtails? Just one. That’s what Azealia Banks does in New York celebration “212,” a song that drops the c-word a half-dozen times and announces herself as a “rude b****.” Then she sings! It’s pretty nuts!

You could think of her as an NC-17 Nicki Minaj — both went to LaGuardia High, the Manhattan performing arts school — but Banks says she’s her own woman. She actually says she switched her style up after Minaj’s success: “I really forced myself to change my ideas,” she told the Village Voice. “I can’t do what I originally planned to do because, for whatever reason, this woman is already doing it.”

But you’d have a hard time mistaking the singer-rapper for anyone else. The fresh-faced artist, whose smile is practically too big for YouTube, has been evolving her style since she starting rapping at age 16 — four years ago. No biggie. Her sound has ranged from the minimalist, Neptunes-influenced hip-hop of “L8R” to a chilly, totally serious synth-pop cover of Interpol‘s indie anthem “Slow Hands” to the double-time rapping of “Runnin,’” which flosses with an on-point flow.

If that doesn’t make her sound like she’s already running the world, Banks just signed to Universal, sold out a U.K. tour, booked a slot at Coachella and (deep breath!) worked on her next video with Nicola Formichetti, Lady Gaga stylist/BFF. She’s basically our hero. BRB, ordering some Mickey Mouse tops.

+ Listen to Azealia Banks. (Language NSFW.)