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New Album: Broke With Expensive Taste

Azealia Banks: Harlem Rapper makes her awaited debut with the album “Broke with Expensive Taste.” Her Hype has been building since 2011 with the single “212,” which appears on this album, in addition to the “1991 EP” released a year later. However, her years of building hype leads to an anti-climactic release, borrowing on the trend made popular by Beyoncé and Skrillex of a flash album release with no announcements or wide scale advertising. However, the decision to release the album in this was likely attributed to the tensions Azealia had with her record labels, rather than her simply following a trend. Throughout this release, there is a reminiscent element of Lauryn Hill in her approach as she both raps and sings throughout the album. “Gimme A Chance” is an excellent example of Azealia’s potential as an artist in showing her ability to sing with the passion reminiscent of Lady Gaga and even go far as rapping in Spanish and changing her own style to match the complex beats. The fusion of house music and hip-hop is very well executed in “Yung Rapunxel” and “Heavy Metal and Reflective” in her approach take to bring the energy to match the production. She brings elements of trip-hop with the haunting melodies in “Desperato.” However, there are times where Azealia seems to get lost within the production that she takes on: her rapping at times brings a disconnect with the house beats that feel layered rather than integrated: songs like “Soda” and “Luxury” could have used a little more to really lock Azealia with the producer, rather than sounding disjointed. “Nude Beach A Go-Go” is an example of the limits of Azealia’s singing as she does not have the power in voice to back up the track, which leaves the track feeling weak; the feels as though it was made to support a large voice to drive the song forward, but Banks falls short of really selling this song. Overall, this album shows Azealia as an artist that can bring much to the table and not be fall to the wayside as a one hit wonder; she has the talent to really push herself as an artist that can not only meet the level of a pop/hip-hip star, but become an visionary that pushes the boundaries of pop music. “Broke with Expensive Taste” has its flaws, but is a very powerful introduction to the potential of Azealia Banks and when the production lines up perfectly with the singing and rapping, there is a plethora of energy and magic that certainly makes this album worth a listen.

-Carlos

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