Azealia Banks (born May 31, 1991) is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Raised in Harlem, New York, Banks pursued an interest in musical theatre at a young age, studying at the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts before dropping out to focus on her musical career. In late 2008, she adopted the pseudonym "Miss Bank$" and began releasing her music through MySpace, eventually being signed to XL Recordings at age 17.
Later signing to Interscope and Polydor Records, 2011 saw Banks rise in notability 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" featuring Lazy Jay, was released on December 6, 2011, later becoming part of her critically acclaimed EP 1991. She released her mixtape Fantasea in July 2012 and has since released the singles "Yung Rapunxel" and "ATM Jam" in anticipation for her upcoming debut studio album Broke with Expensive Taste, which is currently slated for a January 2014 release.