Review Summary: What you gon' do when I appear?
Since late 2011, Azealia Banks has garnered waves of attention for her cocky yet playful personality, delivery of catchy hooks that’d make your mother blush, and even a minor, possibly false feud with a longstanding queen of rap. Yet there’s more to her than just any hype that she’s been surrounded by. “212”, her first official single, was accompanied by an incredibly fun yet simple music video that showed Banks’ personality, style, and lyrical breeziness in spades. Bolstered by a sample of Lazy Jay’s “Float My Boat”, the clubby, electro-hop song was rewarded with critical praise, in addition to gaining her a solid fanbase, including celebrities such as Karl Lagerfeld. And on the 1991 EP, her first official release, Azealia Banks shows that she’s firmly capable of continuing her ascension to the top of wherever it is she wants to be.
Half of 1991 has been heard previously for months now, but all four songs here sound invigorating, from the opening title track come on of “Oh la la la, flirting with a cool French dude named Antoine” to the final moments of skittering beats and synths utilized in “Liquorice.” The songs here hone in on elements from references such as New York’s ball scene (a niche of gay culture that focuses on voguing and other various arts of dance, music, & fashion) in “Van Vogue”, to the club-ready sounds of today (especially “Liquorice,” which uses Lone’s “Pineapple Crush” as backing for Banks’ borderline arrogant, yet charismatic rapping.) Banks’ more playful side is shown here as well, especially in the outro/skit present at the end of “Van Vogue.” Most, if not all of Banks’ boasts here seem rightfully earned based on what she’s delivered so far, and she’s all the more likable for every effective way she’s able to phrase the common topics she addresses (standard rap fare such as money, having sex, and being better than you at whatever it is Banks may be doing.)
Ultimately Banks is still a developing artist, and while her style may change completely at any given moment, as long as her personality and wit remains intact she’ll glide with ease through whatever it is she decides to do. The interest she’s gained so far is fitting for someone with a sound and personality like hers, and hopefully her upcoming mixtape and debut album (Fantasea and Broke With Expensive Taste, respectfully) lives up to the highs she’s made for herself. “This ***’s been mine,” indeed.