Azealia Banks Vogues to the Mermaid Ball

Leading up the Mermaid Ball event this Sunday in New York, Azealia Banks and DJ Cosmo released the Mermaid Ball Mixtape this week. A 42-minute musical snapshot of what to expect on June 3, the mix hypes the event itself, but more importantly, it contextualizes Miss Banks’ career as a continuation of NYC’s underground dance tradition. Banks is certainly a product of the hip-pop-dance amalgamation we’ve become so familiar with on the radio. The difference is that Azealia’s personality, aesthetic and style refer more to the subterranean vogueing tradition and ’90s R&B-dance than the Calvin Harris-type progressive house iterations that are dominating airwaves and iPods. With only two of Azealia’s songs included in the mix, “Van Vogue” and “212,” DJ Cosmo (who started his career in the early ’80s) blends in songs from other contemporary divas like Maluca and Tigga Calore (both performing at the ball), plus ’90s dance hits like Alice DeeJay’s “Better Off Alone” and KP & Envyi’s “Shorty Swing My Way.” Banks is a fan of four-on-the-floor, but we don’t expect her to sample any Avicii singles anytime soon.

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