Commentary

Hip-Hop's Illuminati Dropout Class of 2014.

It's that time of year again: Graduations have party-blocked out every May weekend while springtime optimists flock to their favorite blogs to discover soon-to-be summer hits. You know, the kind of hits that stealthily attack radio and multiply like a pop virus. But what about your favorite hip-hop artists from last year whose big follow-up hits are long-since late for class? The ones who seemed destined to reap the eternal extravagance of the hip-hop elite, but whom can't even release that album that's perpetually getting shelved?

We won't call it a conspiracy just yet, but maybe, just maybe, they've taken their place in this year's Illuminati Dropout Class.

First thing's first: a brief Illuminati run down. The Order of Illuminati was a short-lived 18th century secret society of Bavarian and German freethinkers viewed as a radical threat to European monarchies. Somewhere along the line, conspiracies linked the defunct society to a modern New World Order recruiting throughout fraternal organizations, government officials, and yes, the music industry. In the 1960s they were blamed for musically pushing an agenda of racial desegregation. In the '80s they were claimed to be responsible for hidden messages in heavy metal. And In the late '90s they were credited with instigating "Hit Me Baby One More Time" and the beginnings of Britney Spears. Horrible, horrible people, I know.

In the postmodern society we live in, hip-hop artists are criticized for representing the Illuminati's elite symbolism through opulent lifestyles, Egyptian art, ambiguous hand signs, and Godlike monikers (i.e. Yeezus, Trap Lord, Hova). And yet several other artists in recent years have failed to pick up their diplomas and graduate as the next generation of chosen ones. Here's a roll-call of said delinquents.

Azealia Banks. Whether it be through hexed out "witch pop", a long list of Twitter feuds, or sensational visuals, Azealia Banks is a Harlem MC that wears drama like a charm. Since releasing her debut single "212", her career quickly flew into international territories with charted successes in the U.K. and Australia. Once Banks' swift global rise was noticed, alongside her bisexuality, she was stamped with the Illuminati tag. With the added persona of Yung Rapunzel, she released two mixtapes, toured with the best of the EDM world, and branded herself as the Illuminati Princess in videos, interviews, and an Alexander Wang endorsement.

But in 2014, Banks' mirage of rainbow hairweave hit a snag with her debut album, Broke with Expensive Taste, being slated indefinitely followed by her self-publicized pleas to be dropped by Universal Records. While fans are still hopeful her label will surprise the world with a summer release date of her "sick sadistic shit," with no promotion or further rebellion by Banks, it's not likely. Thought to be this class' valedictorian, maybe dark forces didn't think the princess was quite ready to take her place upon the golden throne.

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Shawn Gadley
Contact: Shawn Gadley

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