Azealia Amanda Banks (/əˈziːliə/; born May 31, 1991) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and actress. Raised in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, she began releasing music through Myspace in 2008 before being signed to XL Recordings when she was 17 years old. In 2011, her single “212” went viral and entered several international charts. Banks subsequently signed with Interscope and Polydor Records.
Banks has released two mixtapes (Fantasea in 2012 and Slay-Z in 2016), one studio album (Broke with Expensive Taste in 2014), and one extended play (1991 in 2012). Her long-delayed second studio album, Fantasea II: The Second Wave, awaits release; the lead single, “Anna Wintour”, was released in April 2018. In 2017, Banks had her feature-film debut in Love Beats Rhymes, receiving positive reviews for her performance as lead actress in a film also featuring Common, Jill Scott and John David Washington.
Throughout her career, Banks’ social media presence and outspoken views, specifically regarding U.S. politics and race, have attracted significant controversy, criticism, and media scrutiny. She has developed a reputation for having disputes with public figures on Twitter.
2018–present: Icy Colors Change, Yung Rapunxel II, Business & Pleasure and Fantasea II
Banks announced that her next project will be Fantasea II: The Second Wave, a follow-up to her 2012 mixtape Fantasea. On February 17, 2017, Banks released a Lunice collaboration, titled “Crown”, to music-streaming service SoundCloud as a promotional single, before the release of her sophomore album. On June 5, 2017, Banks released the song “Chi Chi”. On June 26, 2017, Banks released another promotional single from her third mixtape to SoundCloud titled, “Escapades”.
On January 31, 2018, Banks announced that she had signed a $1 million record deal with Entertainment One. On March 9, 2018, she released “Movin’ On Up”, which featured Newbody, to iTunes and other streaming platforms as the 4th promotional single from Fantasea II: The Second Wave. In March 2018, she announced that the first official single from her forthcoming album would be “Anna Wintour”. It was released on April 6, 2018, and the official music video for the single was released on May 24, 2018. On July 6, a second single, “Treasure Island”, was released.
In November, Banks announced on her Instagram account that she would be releasing an Christmas-themed extended play on December 7, 2018 named Icy Colors Change. A demo of the title track was released in December 2017. The project will explore more jazz-oriented sounds. The project was released on December 19 after several delays, with a promotional single titled “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” released on December 13. Tracks included are “Icy Colors Change”, and “What Are You Doing New Years Eve?”
In January 2019, Banks took to her private Twitter account to discuss her upcoming studio albums. Feeling that Fantasea II wasn’t complete to her liking, Banks announced that she would release her other studio album, Business and Pleasure ahead of Fantasea II: The Second Wave. Banks said that Fantasea II will be released in summer 2019.
In May 2019, Banks announced she had been working on a project in Russia called Yung Rapunxel: Pt. II as a follow up mixtape to her debut single off Broke With Expensive Taste called Yung Rapunxel. It was set to be released ten days after its official announcement but has now been delayed to the September 11th, 2019.
In June 2019, Banks declared in a lengthy rant on her Instagram page that she will never release a body of work as she does not feel that the public is deserving of her work.