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Azealia Banks

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Harlem, New York NY, United States (2009 – present)

Azealia Amanda Banks (born May 31, 1991) is an American rapper, singer and lyricist from Harlem, New York, formerly known under the pseudonym Miss Bank$. Banks rose in notability in 2011 when she topped NME’s “Cool List” for the year. On December 5, 2011, the BBC announced that Banks had been nominated for the Sound of 2012, where she ultimately finished third. Her debut single, 212 (feat. Lazy Jay), was released the next day.

Banks was born in 1991. Her mother raised her and two older sisters in Harlem, after their father died when she was two. At a young age she became interested in musical theater, acting, and singing. At ten, she began performing in off-Broadway musicals with the Tada! Youth Theater - and had lead roles in productions in addition to solo performances. Banks attended LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan, and starred in the school production of City of Angels at age sixteen. An agent became interested in her, and she dropped out of high school in order to pursue a music career. Under the moniker ‘Miss Bank$’, she released her debut Gimme A Chance onto the internet in February 2009. The recording was accompanied by Seventeen, which sampled the Ladytron song of the same name. Later that year, Banks signed to record label XL Records and began working with producer Richard Russell; she left the label later that year due to conflicting ideas.

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