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March 02, 2013  | by: Susie Bijan
Flickr (the405)

Flickr (the405)

 

I love The Strokes and I also happen to adore Azealia Banks (despite her irrationally stupid twitter drama lately: girl, stop). Now, imagine my delight when news hit that Banks covered their song “Barely Legal,” from their classic debut Is This It. I’ve been forgetting about what initially made the 21 year old female MC famous (um, her spitfire abilities in the recording studio!) due to her frequent online beef, and this release is a great reminder of her enduring talent.

Banks is not afraid to sample and cover past hits by a wide range of artists, such as Interpol – her finespun take on “Slow Hands” proved that her vocal abilities are quite top notch – and Baeur’s remarkably popular hit that’s taking the world by storm, “Harlem Shake.” If you haven’t seen the minimalistic video of her rapping over his beat while playing up her minx appeal, then get on that already. It’s mesmerizing, and a million times less annoying than that “meme” that’s been circulating the internet lately (I refuse to call it a dance: it’s an abomination).

Banks’s rendition of “Barely Legal” crosses genre lines by featuring a bounty of synth-y embellishments, and gives the Strokes’ rock n’ roll ballad a dance anthem update that I didn’t even know I wanted. Julian Casablancas’s scratchy and familiar vocals are replaced with Banks’s subtly powerful singing voice, which always comes as a pleasant surprise. It’s a clubbier take on the original, thanks to producer Linbergh Palace: the backing beats are wobbly and contain the perfect mix of trippy notes to make any person groove. The Strokes’ original is chill, but this is chill with a good dose of Banks’s trademark fire.

Twitter (AZEALIABANKS)

Twitter (AZEALIABANKS)

 

I’m going to be honest: I technically ”gave up” on Banks due to her volatile comments on Twitter. I hate Perez Hilton like every decent person with a soul on the web – he’ll never be my cup of tea – but resorting to homophobic slurs to broadcast your opinions of him, Banks? Not cool. My relationship with her finally reached a critical point last week: I clicked the notorious blue “unfollow” button on her Twitter profile. Let’s face it, I’m just not here for that. But her music? That’s an entirely different affair.

Banks is currently putting the finishing touches on her long-awaited, major-label debut album, Broke with Expensive Taste, and voiced on Twitter – where else – last month that the first single, “Yung Rapunxel,” will be available come March 26th. She’s also been busy in the studio with Ariel Pink. Hopefully all we hear from her in the coming weeks is news about dope music releases, and not another update on her ongoing social media wars.

What do you think of Banks’ cover of “Barely Legal”? You can listen to the track via SoundCloud.

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