NYC rapper Azealia Banks tops NME's Cool List
The hippest artist in music is a 20-year-old Harlem MC with a frank line on oral sex
THE YEAR’S hippest musical artist is Azealia Banks, a sexually explicit New York MC who likes rapping about oral sex and has been declared top of the NME's prestigious annual Cool List.
Never heard of Banks? The 20-year-old is an unsigned Harlem MC/producer who has caused a buzz among music executives for her no-holds-barred lyrics. Her best-known song 212, a bouncy electro number which went viral on the internet in the summer, features a rap about the joys of cunnilingus.
But the NME judges are no ageists. Runner-up is pop veteran Jarvis Cocker, 48, who this year storms back up to number two after Pulp's triumphant reunion tour.
Also in the top 10 at number six is singer and internet sensation Lana Del Rey, who shot to fame this year with her hit single Video Games.
Banks is a graduate of New York's LaGuardia performing arts institute but she's not, she has insisted, "one of those ridiculous art-school divas". She is currently working with Florence and the Machine producer Paul Epworth on her debut album which she describes as a mix of "rap-bitch shit" and "winter wonderland R&B that's kind of like Aaliyah".
She heads a new wave of US hip-hop talent. Her fellow Harlem rappers ASAP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator - the frontman of controversial Los Angeles collective Odd Future - are also championed by NME, coming in at 31 and 35 respectively.
The magazine's Cool List is a ruthless barometer of hipsterdom. Last year's winner, the English folk singer Laura Marling, has fallen to 13th place, despite releasing her critically acclaimed third album A Creature I Don't Know, this year. And while Beady Eye frontman Liam Gallagher sneaks onto the list at number 50, his older brother Noel is, in the eyes of NME, way cooler, coming in at number 11.
NME Cool List 2011 top ten:
1. Azealia Banks
2. Jarvis Cocker, Pulp
3. Honor Titus, Cerebral Ballzy
4. Serge Pizzorno, Kasabian
5. Tom Meighan, Kasabian
6. Lana Del Rey
7. Rys Webb, The Horrors
8. Theo Hutchcraft, Hurts
9. Matt Helders, Arctic Monkeys
10. Ellery Roberts, Wu Lyf