Azealia Banks – 1991 EP

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This week, the new hot girl on the rap/hip-hop scene, Azealia Banks, released her debut EP and to be honest, it’s a bit of a disappointment.

After uploading a budget video for ‘212’ last September, Azealia has been voted top of NME’s Cool-List, and was also placed third on BBC’s Sound of 2012. Ever since the first time I heard ‘212’, I loved everything that Banks brought to the music scene; something fresh, catchy, and offensive. It’s a track that really angered some people for it’s abusive lyrics and was loved by others just for being a great song, but if one thing is for sure, it caught everyones attention.

8 months after ‘212’ was first uploaded, Banks’ first EP 1991 has finally been released, ahead of her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste which is expected to come out in September. The EP is four tracks long and is compromised of two brand new songs (‘1991’ and ‘Van Vogue’), a song released on SoundCloud last December, (‘Liquorice’), and of course, ‘212’. In ‘Liquorice’, Banks spits out rhymes claiming that she is the “Liquorice bitch” over the top of ‘Pineapple Crush’ by British-electronic musician, Lone. The track showcases an explosion of quick synthy beats with clear rap talent shining through. It’s a catchy song that is easy to dance to and while perhaps not on the same level as ‘212’, not all songs can be perfect.

However, listening to the other two tracks on the album quickly lowers expectations of Banks’ talent. ‘1991’ has 90s throwbacks, but also has a boring beat that doesn’t really lead anywhere. The beginning of ‘Van Vogue’ shows more promise with a catchier beat and, um, random dogs barking in the background, but this doesn’t really lead anywhere either. A bland chorus is shoehorned in and the second verse is far from distinctive. The last two minutes comprises simply of Azealia singing through a voice changer and having a rant about… well I’m not even sure, but it’s pointless anyway. Who wants to hear two minutes of something sounding like a drunk man rambling on about a load of rubbish?

In essence, 1991 falls short of all expectations which I had of Azealia Banks the first time I heard her. Of course ‘212’ and upcoming single ‘Liquorice’ are brilliantly written, produced and executed, but ‘1991’ and ‘Van Vogue’ are substandard album tracks, and if this is the best new material that Azealia can create, she might end up slipping into the unknown as quickly as she found fame.

6/10

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  1. avatar

    Azealia Banks wasn’t anything special to start with, IMO. What many people don’t realise was that Lazy Jay had already released that backing track (‘Float My Boat’), which is the catchy bit, and it’s only the use of the C-bomb that makes the song stick.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the song, and I love the fact that she feels free enough to curse Minaj-style, but I think the track really gave her (and everyone else) false hope!

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