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Gentrification – n. the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

Gentrification has been occurring widely across all five New York City boroughs and has recently hit New York’s mecca of black American culture, Harlem. While gentrification can in fact bring new businesses and boost the area’s economy, it often tends to lead to a rise in real estate prices and can shift the cultural characteristics of the neighborhood. One of the first evidences of a cultural shift that appeared was the viral phenomenon of the Harlem Shake.

Baauer’s hit song, which massively spread across the Internet, took a classic Harlem neighborhood tradition and made a mockery of it, at least according to the Harlem natives. And along with the gentrification of a massive cultural hub for the black American is suspected to come a change in the genre of music that has several root in the neighborhood, hip hop. With artists like Macklemore on the rise, this change seems to already be into effect.

According to many of Macklemore’s critics, the music he makes is not true hip-hop, but a watered down “white boy” version for the listeners who are aware of the genre but not actively involved with it. Just like Harlem’s cultural heritage is at risk to becoming a watered down mecca for all peoples, hip-hop also seems to be heading in that direction. While on one spectrum, hip-hop seems to be losing some of the aggressive nature that defines it to make room for a new audience. On the other hand, this new form of hip-hop seems to be more honest and is a way of bringing in topics of conversation that aren’t generally accepted in hip-hop. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether this change in both hip-hop and the cultural city of Harlem is for the better, to make room for this new trend, old traditions will be sacrificed.

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Azealia Banks is a new face in the world of Hip-Hop. The genre has seen an influx of female artists as of late. Azealia is out to prove she has something unique to offer that would cement her a spot a top the charts.  We will have to watch an see how her story unfolds, but for now here are some fun facts you may or may not know about her.


 

 1. She grew up in Harlem, NY.

Azealia’s childhood wasn’t the typical “hard knock” life story that stems from this region. In fact she readily admits that she had everything she ever wanted growing up.

 


2. She began acting at an early age.

At age 10 she starred in an off-Broadway show.

 


3. She has been all around the world

Most of her adolescence was spent in the U.S., but she has since relocated to places like Montreal and London to work with in demand producers.

 


4. Raised by a single mom

She was only two years old when her father passed away from pancreatic cancer.

 


5. She dropped out of high school.

Already enthralled in the arts, it was only natural for the budding actress/performer to attend a high school that would cater to her talents. LaGuardia High School for Music & Arts has taught notable actresses and singers throughout the years, including: Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Anniston and Robert De Niro. Unfortunately, she never graduated because she dropped out to pursue her career.

 


6. She has used technology to further her career.

There was a time frame where Azealia didn’t belong to a record label. In order to keep the momentum going surrounding her music she released music on YouTube to keep people informed and listening.

 


 7. She is now known by her real name.

Early in her career she went by the alias, Miss Bank$.

 


8. She is the baby

Azealia has two older sisters.

 


9. Her influences include, Beyonce and Aaliyah.

Even after her passing Aaliyah continues to inspire young R&B/Hip-hop vocalists. Beyonce has come a long way since Destiny’s Child. Later this month she will be headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show. It is no surprise that younger artists hope to follow in her footsteps.

 


10. Music isn’t her only passion.

Her most notable side project as of late is the line of lipsticks she did for MAC makeup.