212 (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

212 Azealia Banks Lazy Jay cover art.svg
Single by Azealia Banks featuring Lazy Jay
from the EP 1991 and the album Broke with Expensive Taste
ReleasedDecember 6, 2011 (2011-12-06)
FormatDigital download
GenreHip house[1]
Producer(s)Lazy Jay
Azealia Banks singles chronology

"212" (spoken two-one-two) is the debut single by American rapper Azealia Banks. The musical base of the track is the song "Float My Boat" by Belgian DJ Jef Martens and his brother Toon (under the alias "Lazy Jay"), who also produced Banks' version. The song was first released on December 6, 2011 in the United Kingdom as the lead single from her 2012 EP 1991, and is also included on her debut studio album Broke with Expensive Taste (2014).[2] The song, released first as a free download, was well received in Europe, charting in the top 20 in the UK and Benelux charts. The song is named after the area code 212 which covers Manhattan, New York where Banks grew up. In September 2011, the song was chosen as the Record of the Week by Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1.[3] The song was included in many publications' end-of-year lists for 2011, being ranked at number 9 by Pitchfork Media[4] and number 2 by The Guardian.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

The Guardian gave the song a positive review and placed it at number 2 on their The Best Songs of 2011 list.[5][7] In the review, Michael Cragg praised the song, calling it "a startling three and a half minutes of attitude" as well as "incredible."[7] Carrie Battan of Pitchfork named the song "Best New Track", lauding Banks' "unpredictable vocal range" and wrote, "She clicks between characters and styles casually, effortlessly. No seams. A jaw-slackening demo reel."[8] Thomas H. Green from The Independent called it "a potty-mouthed sex song that encapsulates the way the current US explosion in EDM has adapted and adopted European rave, mixing the style with hip-hop and R&B stylistic tics."[6] NME dubbed the song number 18 on their 50 Best Tracks Of 2011, calling it "mischievous, quick-witted and full of filthy cunnilanguage: it’s made Azealia Banks the coolest girl on the planet, and it delivered on 2011’s forward-thinking promise."[9] NPR Music gave the song a positive review and listed it as one of their 100 Favorite Songs Of 2011, calling the song "the raunchiest shut-down of 2011."[10] The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop ranked "212" at number 6 to find the best music of 2011. Pitchfork also ranked it number 9 on their Top 100 Tracks of 2011 list, writing:

So she's an internet novelty? Hardly. "212" works because its popcraft and its shock tactics are each other's Trojan horses – concentrate on one and the other sneaks up on you. One reason "ruin you, cunt" feels like such a payoff is that Banks spends an entire verse of quick, unshowy rapping setting up its run of vowels. Banks uses the peaks, breakdowns, and drop-outs of Lazy Jay's bouncy "Float My Boat" to give her Minaj-style vocal-shifts some context: from sassy and chatty during the build ups to cartoon rage as the synths rear up around her at the song's end. If it were judged only on its visceral thrill, "212" would still be one of 2011's best, an unashamed banger in a mostly mid-tempo year. But the more you dig into the song, the more you can hear details and decisions that suggest a scary degree of pop talent.[11]

In 2019, "212" was placed 6th in Pitchfork's list of the 200 Best Songs of the 2010s.[12]

Music video[edit]

A music video to accompany the release of "212" was first released onto YouTube on September 12, 2011 at a total length of three minutes and twenty-five seconds. Directed by Vincent Tsang, the video is shot in black-and-white, and features Banks dancing in front of a brick wall and close-ups of her rapping to camera.[13] In addition to Lazy Jay, the video also includes appearances by Québécois record producers Lunice and Jacques Greene.

In the media[edit]

Since its release, "212" has been featured in the season one finale of the HBO show Girls and the series six opener of the E4 drama Skins. It has also featured in several films, such as The Heat, The Bling Ring, A Long Way Down and Pitch Perfect. The song was also used on an episode of Cuckoo.[14][15][16]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[17]
  1. "212" – 3:25

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom[17] March 16, 2012 Digital download Polydor
Canada[37] April 24, 2012 Interscope
United States[38]
United States[39] June 5, 2012 Rhythmic contemporary radio


  1. ^ Wood, Mikael (June 18, 2012). "Aural Fixation". Paper. Paper Publishing Company. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  2. ^ Banks, Azealia (February 21, 2013). "Twitter". Twitter.com. Retrieved February 21, 2013. I've written ALL new material for this record..... Except for 212 lol.
  3. ^ "Zola Jesus Fresh Off Stage". BBC. September 26, 2011.
  4. ^ "Top 100 Tracks of 2011". Pitchfork. December 12, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "The best songs of 2011". The Guardian. December 19, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Review".
  7. ^ a b Cragg, Michael (September 27, 2011). "New music: Azealia Banks – 212". The Guardian. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  8. ^ Battan, Carrie (October 14, 2011). "Azealia Banks: "212"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  9. ^ "50 Best Tracks of 2011". NME. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  10. ^ NPR Music Staff (December 14, 2011). "NPR Music's 100 Favorite Songs Of 2011". NPR. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  11. ^ Pitchfork (December 12, 2011). "The Top 100 Tracks of 2011". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  12. ^ "The 200 Best Songs of the 2010s". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  13. ^ "AZEALIA BANKS - 212 FT. LAZY JAY". Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  14. ^ "The Heat (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  15. ^ "The Bling Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  16. ^ "All Songs In Pitch Perfect". IndieWire. Archived from the original on July 17, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  17. ^ a b "iTunes – Music – 212 (feat. Lazy Jay)". iTunes Store (GB). Archived from the original on May 24, 2012.
  18. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles – Week Commencing 30th April 2012" ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  19. ^ "ARIA Urban Singles Chart – Week Commencing 21st May 2012" (PDF). ARIA Charts. Pandora Archive. p. 17. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Azealia Banks feat. Lazy Jay – 212" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Azealia Banks feat. Lazy Jay – 212" (in Dutch). Ultratop Dance.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Azealia Banks feat. Lazy Jay – 212" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ "Ultratop.be – Azealia Banks feat. Lazy Jay – 212" (in French). Ultratop Dance.
  24. ^ "Azealia Banks Chart History (Euro Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  25. ^ "Chart Track: Week 16, 2012". Irish Singles Chart.
  26. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 14, 2012" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  27. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Azealia Banks feat. Lazy Jay – 212" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  28. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  30. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  31. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN 2012: Singles" (in Dutch). Ultratop (NL). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  32. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN 2012: Dance" (in Dutch). Ultratop (NL). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  33. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 2012" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 2012". BBC Radio 1. December 31, 2012. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  35. ^ "British single certifications – Azealia Banks ft Lazy Jay – 212". British Phonographic Industry. July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2014. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type 212 in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  36. ^ Syme, Rachel (April 3, 2015). "Billboard Cover: Azealia Banks on Why No One Really Wants to See Her Naked, Her Impure Thoughts About Barack Obama and Why She's 'Not Here to Be Your Idol'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  37. ^ "212 (2012) | Azealia Banks". Canada: 7digital. Archived from the original on July 19, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  38. ^ "212 (2012) | Azealia Banks". United States: 7digital. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015.
  39. ^ "Top 40/R Future Releases". All Access. Archived from the original on October 8, 2009.

External links[edit]