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Azealia Banks releases new song 'BBD,' name-checks Bell Biv Devoe

January 02, 2013|By Randall Roberts
  • Azealia Banks performing at Coachella in 2012.
Azealia Banks performing at Coachella in 2012. (Arkasha Stevenson / Los…)

The hype surrounding young rapper Azealia Banks over the last year has been almost overwhelming, and every month that critics marked her as the future of hip-hop felt like another one spent missing other artists making music in the here-and-now.

But now on the second day of 2013, the young New York rapper has dropped another hot jam, which attempts to justify the deafening buzz. The track is called “BBD,” and -- joy of joys -- it does indeed name-check Bell Biv Devoe, the early '90s new jack swing trio.

In this case, Banks’ phrase also means “Bad bitches do it,” which is a refrain she spits between rhymes more interesting for their phrasing and flow than for their lyrical content. There’s mention of a night out on the town, there are boasts, and, near the end, a potential love triangle. But the track lacks the backbone of more verbally accomplished rappers, including Nicki Minaj before she decided that pop stardom mattered more than wicked rhymes.

But if you ignore the untethered, ill-constructed verses and concentrate on the track, then “BBD” works. Produced by Southern beatmakers Sup Doodle and Apple Juice Kid, the track was described in a tweet by Banks that referenced a few different pop/hip-hop subgenres: "It's Trap, but it's Rave. it's Banjee, But still a lil classy."

Indeed, those traits are present, but the song's most magnetic characteristic is its impatience, which makes it feel like a four-minute mini-mixtape, jumping between sounds and rhythms every few bars as though repetition were the enemy. 

Banks will release her debut full length album, "Broke with Expensive Taste," on Feb. 13 via Interscope Records.

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Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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