Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jeff's Top 10 of 2014 - #7: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

Azealia Banks's debut album was supposed to come out in 2012, and was delayed because of label issues and a lot of overall drama. Finally released as a surprise at the beginning of November, I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall at Universal two years ago, because the album is really truly an incredible feat.

In a world where Janelle Monae is rightfully getting a lot of critical acclaim and is soooo close to that popular breakthrough, Banks successfully juggles multiple genres and concepts in a way that is similar to Monae while both forging her own path and keeping the concepts a little more mainstream. The tropes are more familiar and don't involve sexy robots, and that's okay - the comparison mostly has to stop there and we can embrace Broke With Expensive Taste on its own merits. The singles ("Yung Rapunxel," "Heavy Metal and Reflective") are great, and the deeper tracks ("Nude Beach a Go-Go," "Gimme a Chance") speak to a voice that I'm sure has only improved and been refined since this album was completed.

Certainly one of the best rap/R&B releases this year, and provides a great contrast to the Iggy Azaelias of the world in terms of what rap and hip hop can be.

Song highlights: "Yung Rapunxel," "Heavy Metal and Reflective," "212," "Nude Beach a Go-Go," "Gimme a Chance."

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