Controversial word-smith Azealia Banks is back with her first new project since the release of her first official LP Broke With Expensive Taste in 2014. An LP which had some great beats, flow and structure on songs such as ‘212’, ‘Gimme A Chance, Desperado’, ‘Yung Rapunxel’, ‘JFK’ to name a few. However, here and there were a few peculiar and weak song choices which left the LP somewhat compiled and rushed.
On this new mixtape, she changes things up by engaging in more conventional mainstream pop-rap styles and intermittently uses an exaggerated (and faintly irritating) vocal style. Despite this she intermittently goes back to her usual style of UK Garage/deep house and quirky pop-rap.
Some high moments are definitely the Benga-produced ‘CAN’T DO IT LIKE ME’ and ‘THE BIG BIG BEAT’ which sees Azealia playing to her strengths with fluid rapping over catchy deep house beats. With the songs ‘BIG TALK’ and ‘SKYLAR DIGGINS’, while the trap-style beats have potential, the repetitive and shallow lyrics contribute very little and Rick Ross’ involvement on ‘BIG TALK’ lived up to its low expectations. ‘USED TO BE ALONE’ seems like a massive throwback turn-of-the-century vocal house banger. It has no rapping and just sounds rather inauthentic for Azealia.
Continuing on from this, the tracks ‘RIOT’ and ‘QUEEN OF CLUBS’ just seem exactly like rejected Ke$ha songs. This disappointed me as I’ve usually thought of Azealia as someone to distance herself from this simplistic, clichéd type of pop-rap. Furthermore the song ‘ALONG THE COAST’ is the most frustrating as it could have been much more enjoyable if there was some rapping on it as opposed to just singing.
While I still think there’s hope for Azealia’s music and I periodically enjoyed the instrumentals on this mixtape, the insipid vocals and lyrics left me overall on the negative side of indifferent.