Azealia Banks. Where do I even begin? You might all know her as the rapper who released “212” waaaaaay back in the day (read: 2011). You might know her as the artist who dominated the blogosphere with the aforementioned song: brash, flagrant, but oh-so catchy. Everyone from Slate to the New York Times to the ever-omnipresent Pitchfork was talking about her. Then what happened? For the sake of keeping a very long story short (we’re all #blessed with Google these days. Feel free to further explore as you will.), I’m going to give you all the abbreviated version of her story, as I understand it. She was signed to a record label. She dropped the record label. There was loads of Twitter beef in there somewhere? Add a hearty sprinkling of announcements about the release of her debut album, which kept getting pushed back to the point of it being a joke that it would ever be released, a mixtape and a stellar EP, a few artist collaborations that never came to fruition, and here we are today. It is the Year of our Lord 2014 and Miss Banks has released Broke With Expensive Taste.
Technically, this week’s AOTW isn’t a singular artist, but rather a group of artists who’ve come together to form the collective known as Barf Troop. They’re a bunch of badass girls making rap tracks and they all have pretty clever stage names: Babe Field, Justin Baber, Babeo Baggins, Baberella Fox, and Babenstein. They hail from all over the United States, but met each other through Tumblr and subsequently began making music together. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me. Barf Troop is pure girl power — they doing what they love, no matter what anyone else may tell them. In “The World Is Yours,” there’s a line that says, “it’s time for something new and we’re doing it; we’re breaking all the rules, we’re still schooling them.” HELL YEAH.
I’ve been a fan of the group ever since I heard their Summerslime mixtape a few years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. Barf Troop’s music is creative, clever, relatable, and even pretty funny at times. Rapping over generic beats found on the internet, to math rock tracks, to covers of folk songs, these girls know how to put their signature flair on any and all tracks made. On one of my personal favorite tracks, “Mafamatics,” Babeo Baggins raps over a beat from a Vine video. Really.
After an internal debate lasting several hours and a lot of encouragement from commentators on a Facebook status concerning the issue, I decided to go to the Die Antwoord concert at Echostage the Wednesday before last…by myself. If you’re not a fan of the South African rap group this probably seems like a rather trivial dilemma, and to you I’d recommend googling any of their music videos at this point. You can probably see why I was hesitant — but I’m glad I worked up the nerve to go, especially since I’d already missed an opportunity to see them live in my hometown a couple years ago.
My mental quandary lasted long enough that by the time I got to Echostage the opening act — newcomer on the techno/house scene, Alex Young — had already finished his set. As I attempted to muscle my way through the crowd, one asshole literally spread his feet, squared his shoulders, and asked me why I “didn’t get there earlier if I wanted to get a decent spot.” What? Shut up and get out of my way, shitbird. I have an 8 am class tomorrow. Thankfully this guy was pretty much the only unpleasant part of my Die Antwoord concert experience.
Death Grips have stepped out of the shadows again and brought with them their new release “niggas on the moon,” which is technically side A of a double album is titled The Powers That B. This release is the first half of a double album and contains only 8 tracks at the moment. At this point in Death Grips’ career you’re probably familiar with their shtick and know what to expect when it comes to their releases. The Sacramento-based experimental hip-hop creates music that mixes elements of hip hop and electronica in a way that results in violent and sometimes frightening music that pushes the limits of the genre. This time around Death Grips don’t disappoint, delivering their signature alternative hip-hop style. Death Grips have come back with a refreshing release that is a satisfying agglomeration of the past years of their work.
House parties are as much a part of hip-hop as 808 drums and Gucci Mane’s ice cream tattoo. So, it goes without saying that any DC Hip-hop head would be CRAZY to miss out on Super Nike Nando and Dugee F. Buller’s Hip-Hop House Party this Saturday, February 22nd at the Fillmore Silver Spring.
As for the artistry performing at the show: