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“212” featuring Lazy Jay dropped in 2011 as a free download on Azealia Banks’s website. Three years later,
Broke With Expensive Taste was stealthily released on Nov. 6.
For me, one of the most important things I look for in a musician is passion and despite all odds, Banks’s passion for her music really shined through whatever doubts may have lingered before. She really did come through, after wavering public opinion from various Twitter feuds and disagreements with her label, she was still able to deliver an album that is indelibly hers.
Even if many of the tracks have been heard before, to finally have them in this complete album form where Banks painstakingly ordered the tracks is really important because it shows immense growth and promise. When I listened to the tracks in consecutive order, everything made much more sense.
I can’t really explain why I love this album so much but I’ll try. From her EPs, I only liked
1991 and Fantasea flew under the radar for me. But something about Broke With Expensive Taste really hits home. I can really feel Banks’s hard work, creativity and talent on every track. She doesn’t depend entirely on the hype, she knows that she has to deliver if she wants people to listen and on top of that, she’s having fun and exploring the depths of her sound.
As much as it is an ode to her roots, not just with her music influences but her cosmopolitan hometown, it’s also innovative and fresh. It could be contemporary in 4014 and 2014.
Banks’s effortless, melodic flow acts as the anchor for this album. You know how some artists rely entirely on the production for their sound? For Banks, even if the production is tight, it would still be nothing without her vocals. She’s a double-edged sword, comfortable with spitting fire and singing like sugar.
The album is alive and rather than some hideous Frankenstein of haphazard tracks, it’s a sleek cyborg sent from the future to save us from disaster. With its own pulse and narrative, Broke With Expensive Taste is thriving and vibrant.