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10 Rappers to Watch in 2012

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6 of 10

#5. Azealia Banks
10 Rappers to Watch in 2012
© Billboard.com

Twitter: @AzealiaBanks

Hometown: Harlem, New York

Claim to Fame:
  • "212"
License to Ill:

What do Nicki Minaj, Jean Grae, Chaz Bono and Azealia Banks have in common? No, not vagina. They all spent time at LaGuardia High School, which specializes in music and performing arts. Banks, for one, was classically trained there. She's also had many false starts in the music business, including a failed relationship with XL Recordings when she was still rapping under the alias Miss Bank$. She later gained national attention with her stellar single, "212," an exercise in songwriting and vocal shifts that only hints at her potential. Banks is fun, fierce, and flavorful. For her debut, she recruited "Rolling in the Deep" producer Paul Epworth to help mold her sound. To cap off a fairytale career start, she's also scored a deal with Universal Music.

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