The painfully long awaited rap album from the Harlem native, Azealia Banks, has finally dropped. Most might recognize her for the catchy and controversial “212” that was released back in 2011. After that exploded in the U.K and made waves here on the mainland, we expected another female rap sensation. Problems with her record company and her social media presence had us waiting for a new album with baited breath. But she’s delivered, and has a lot to say.
This isn’t a traditional hip-hop album. Every track is based on a different genre. There is a bit of trap, jazzy hip-hop, house and a fusion of R&B. “Heavy Metal & Reflective” is clearly the turn up jam, with an ambience that’s enough to make any twerking-deficient individual give it a try. The sounds are unexplainable but the drums that ricochet off one another is a sound to be heard. “Ice Princess” is a trap-inspired Frozen-themed rap. Azealia shows her hood side and with opening lyrics “I’m so cold I’m drippin icicles/I go and take yo man that **** might miss you/spent his whole commission on my neck and ear/to stand around me [you] need to have ya winter gear,” it’s clear she pulls no punches. That track is the most comprehensible due to lack of tongue twisters.
But with the Tokyo/NYC jazz fusion track “Desperado,” your ears are teased by the spell binding lyrics reminiscent of 90’s hip-hop such as her second verse: “I be pretty, prissy, plenty plush and stuff/you be piggy-pissy, penny-crushed and crunched.” If you want to decipher that off the top of your head, go ahead. “Chasing Time” is a dance club track with a plethora of singing styles, soaring vocally and then trailing over a synth chorus but still giving a dose of her rap that spits faster than a kid on a sugar high. “Miss Camraderie” is like racing on Super Mario’s Rainbow Road to an intergalactic rave trying to escape astronaut police. It was a perfect ending to the album’s overall sound.
Azealia Banks proves she can create music for all tastes. Whether or not she’s ripping new ones with her degrading lyrics or wants to uplift basic girls, she does it with a new spin and deserves credit. While all this time could have better contributed to fresh tracks, overall she proves her wordplay challenges Nicki Minaj and devours Iggy Azalea. Hopefully this album can put her on the map more than her feuds on social media.