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Azealia Banks poses nude for 'Playboy'

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Ellen Von Unwerth/Playboy

Azealia Banks is kind of like the Madonna of the Twitter age, possessed of a preternatural talent for creating and sustaining media spectacles despite the fact that they usually don’t involve her actually making music. Between noisily extricating herself from a major-label contract and bringing the debate over the gentrification of hip-hop to the mainstream (and in the process coining the hilariously mean nickname “Igloo Australia” for her archenemy Iggy Azalea), for the past six months Banks has been all over news stories and thinkpieces even while her debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, has commercially underperformed to the point where it almost feels a footnote to her other activities.

In April, Banks’s media domination campaign will take her to the cover of Playboy. The magazine announced today that its April issue will include a “no-holds-barred interview” between Banks and veteran music critic Rob Tannenbaum alongside a pictoral shot by Ellen Von Unwerth, whose richly saturated, playfully raunchy shots of mostly undressed supermodels were among the most influential fashion photography of the ’90s. As the preview image supplied by Playboy suggests, Banks’ outsize personality and Von Unwerth’s playful surrealism are a great match.