Azealia Banks Broke With Expensive Taste Prospect Park
Really great New York albums often take us by surprise. When artists overcook the nuances of the city they run the risk of sounding more Empire State than New York State of Mind. The patchwork culture of the city has to be reflected but – most crucially – so does the cohesion. Against all the odds, Azealia Banks has managed to debunk the doubts of the naysayers and drop a debut album that fuses the fashion houses with the bodegas. The split personality she displays on tracks like Wallace is a truly bewitching force – Banks will sing a hook like the lead in a school play, then U-turn into an X-rated sidewalk terroriser when she starts to rap.
The luxurious production on tracks like Miss Amor and mixtape flossing workout Ice Princess work as Azealia’s launchpad, but it’s her character and her flow that put her on top. There are some moments of tediousness, and there’s only so many profanities one can fire out before sounding slightly mechanical, but Banks has actually crafted herself a niche with a record which months before release was looking impossible. From being a product of her own cyber-obnoxiousness, she appears to have given the final word to this LP. It’s the sound of overpriced rent and underground travel. An opulent – albeit fairly one-track – exercise in repositioning rap for Dior-heavy dancefloors.