Kele Okereke Defends Azealia Banks On Eve Of Album Leak

Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke has leapt to the defence of the notoriously controversial rapper Azealia Banks over her threat to leak her album, Broke With Expensive Taste on April 15th, just one day before its last confirmed release date. The album was originally slated to be unveiled back in September 2012.

In a blog post for Vice‘s music blog Noisey, Okereke reached out and offered his support for the divisive New York rapper over her ongoing battles with her record label Universal. The open letter is titled Screw You All, I’m Still Rooting For Azealia Banks.

“There is still something about this girl that I dig,” wrote Okereke. “The early Vogue culture references in her music, the dexterity of her wordplay and, most of all, her attitude. For sure it may just be front, but it’s honest front.”

Okereke admitted that Banks’ “caustic attitude and temper tantrums” may have contributed to her controversial reputation, the 212 rapper having beefed with everyone from Lily Allen to Disclosure, but he still harbours admiration for her honesty and sympathy for her ongoing label woes.

The release of Banks’ long-delayed Broke With Expensive Taste has been pushed back countless times since it was originally scheduled for September 2012. Earlier this year Banks begged to be dropped from Universal tweeting, “I’m tired of having to consult a group of old white guys about my black girl craft.”

“Purely from a personal perspective, musician to musician, I understand that it’s got to suck to be told you have to sit on music for over two years, while a “group of old white guys” who don’t understand your craft, are making decisions about its commercial viability,” wrote Okereke. “It’s a pretty simple equation, you take their money, you have to do what they say.”

In his open letter, Okereke said he “literally gagged” when he first heard Banks’ smash hit 212 and added his belief that “if she has made a good record it is very possible that she can claw back a decent platform to make another record when the pressure is off”.

In his final words, Okereke offered Banks some sage advice. “Get this record out, make these summer shows the best they can be and then get your head down and start again from scratch. Don’t lose heart, you still have it in you.”

Banks has not yet leaked her album. Read the full blog post here.

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