Perhaps you missed Azealia Banks’s New York debut in the 2007 La Guardia production of City of Angels. (She died onstage.) It’s been harder to miss her as the delightfully foul-mouthed, mermaid-loving rap ingénue who vaulted to the top of every music “It” list. In the span of a year, the Harlem-raised, anything-is-possible theater kid has released two well-regarded mix tapes and recorded a proper album (due next year); she’s beefed with T.I. and partied with Karl Lagerfeld. Her rapid-fire flow is matched only by her enthusiasm for house beats and talking dirty, an imperious combination that manages to turn the words “I guess that cunt gettin’ eaten” on her hit track “212” into something that feels like wordplay. Banks dropped out of school—sometimes fame can’t wait. And sometimes it doesn’t have to: Lourdes Ciccone Leon graduates La Guardia in 2014.
“Fame” High kids: Kelis (class of 1997, debut album 1999), Nicki Minaj (class of 2000, debut album 2010), Pia Toscano (class of 2006; unjustly eliminated on American Idol), and Timothee Chalamet (class of 2013, Finn on Homeland).