It was only a couple of years ago that Azealia Banks wowed the world with her painfully catchy, undeniably infectious hit, “212.” With witty lyrics and uncompromising sass, highlighted by “she really went there” expletives, Banks proved her potential as one of the most talented female rappers of all time. We all anxiously awaited the songstress’ full-length album, when she would ideally rise above social media spats and put her money where her mouth is. Well, that day has finally come. And Azealia’s doing more than just justifying her extra dose of confidence; she just about murdered any competition, while she blew critics out of the water.
Released Beyoncé-style, as in completely out of left field, Banks’ Broke with Expensive Taste is everything we could’ve asked for and more. There’s been a lot of talk about the album’s actual completion, since it’s been pushed back more times than we can count, and let’s just say it was well worth the wait. It’s not like we’d expect much less from the artist whose flow is about as sharp and snappy as a shootout.
To be blunt, Broke with Expensive Taste is potentially one of the most eclectic albums assembled by an artist in years. Banks experiments with elements from live instrumentals to deep house to trap and even more, while she proves she’s as talented a crooner as a ballsy beatmaker. Some previously released songs ended up on the full album like “Luxury,” “BBD,” “Yung Rapunxel,” “Heavy Metal and Reflective,” her uber-hit “212,” and “Chasing Time,” her last release before the album’s drop. And while we’d love for tracks like “Liquorice,” “Van Vogue,” “Fuck Up the Fun,” or “1991” to make the cut, Banks definitely didn’t ditch her penchant for perfecting those contagious 90s sounds – and then some. She opens up the album with verses spit at a mind-boggling tempo on “Idle Delilah,” which meshes bongo rhythms with pulsations that will probably make you want to vogue. From the get-go, it’s obvious that the larger portion of Broke with Expensive Taste presents vast variety even within individual tunes. Banks keeps it up with “Gimme a Chance,” taking us from an impressive take on a staple Harlem sound to even more astonishing singing and rapping en español. ADD? Maybe. But you’ve got to love Azealia’s fearless experimentation, especially when it’s done so concisely and smoothly. And you’ve also got to commend her on holding her own throughout the entire album; whereas most artists would feature a slew of collaborators, Banks goes solo, save a slick verse from Theophilus London on “JFK.” Even the questionable Ariel Pink-produced “Nude Beach a Go-Go” (which sounds like an austere twist on the Beach Boys) is a pretty interesting choice. At least she went there. You can’t say that about many artists today.
And that’s just it. Azealia Banks has proven from day one that she’s got balls, and there’s really no stopping her. Even when many people were doubting that she was more than an aggressive Twitter presence, she snatched their wigs and proved her musical expertise with a killer release. We could go into detail about every single song, but it’s pretty clear that Azealia Banks has already solidified her brilliance, creativity, personality, and sophisticated toughness. Listen to Broke with Expensive Taste for yourself. You won’t regret it.
Azealia Banks’ Broke with Expensive Taste is available on iTunes now! Go take a listen, and let us know what you think!
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