Banks delivers on delayed album

“Broke With Expensive Taste” (4 out 5 stars)

Taira Alabi, Reporter

Banks finally gives us something to say thanks for. Azealia Banks, the feisty female MC who had the music scene buzzing when she released her single “212” in 2011, released her long awaited debut album, “Broke With Expensive Taste” on Nov. 6.

After two years of Twitter fights and label delays, Banks barely hinted to her album, despite a few mysterious tweets, and released it with no promotion. Twitter was abuzz for a few hours as fans rejoiced over the female rapper finally dropping more than woes over label problems. The phrase “Broke With Expensive Taste,” even trended worldwide for a few hours.

So, after two years of teasing and tweeting, was “Broke With Expensive Taste” worth the wait? While it certainly has room for improvement, Banks delivers. The album, which features 16 songs including the hit “212” and the moderate hit “Yung Rapunxel,” sounds like nothing else out in rap right now. In fact, it is hard to believe it is a rap album. “Ice Princess,” the chilly ninth track produced by AraabMuzik, is the only song that could possibly be a hip-hop hit. Aside from this all of the other tracks are a medley of experimental sounds featuring Banks’ slick deep voice and thick New-York accent.

Her songs tell her story as well. On “Idle Delilah,” the album’s opener track, Banks raps about procrastination in the form of a spirit. She mixes it with a stellar beat that features monkey howls. On “Desperado,” Azealia tells the tale of her rise to the top and features a sample of New York Radio DJ Pete Rosenberg ironically saying that he has been “waiting” for Azealia Banks.

On some tracks like “BBD” and “Heavy Metal and Reflective,” Banks is at her best displaying her signature fast rap flow over heavy, hard bass beats. Banks seems comfortable on most tracks, the only thing missing is really the hunger and fight seen on “212,” the song which is the album’s fifth track, stands out as Banks yells and screams for recognition. Her dark voice sounding so pleasant that dozens of expletives that she utters are almost unnoticeable. Almost.

Is there another “212,” on the album? No, but while Banks does not provide another breakout hit for the radio, she does provide even more evidence that she is a rapper, singer and songwriter who is skilled at providing danceable music in an unconventional way.

On “Gimme A Chance,” she goes from full out singing and rapping to singing in Spanish to a salsa beat and eventually rapping in Spanish. On “Miss Camaraderie,” she proves that she can go seamlessly from singing to rapping and tell a pulchritudinous love story at the same time.

If there is anything that Banks does extraordinarily well, it’s providing music that is both pleasant to listen and also makes listeners think. For example, “Wallace,” which sounds like it details a romance gone wrong, is actually about a man with a dog’s head signified by the barking at the end of the song. Her lyrics can be taken at face-value or can be interpreted to mean something more. In a world where having a excellent beat in a song and mediocre lyrics seems to be the guide to a radio hit, Banks work on “Broke With Expensive Taste,” a title that says a lot about the Millennial generation, is a refreshing body of work that will sure last longer than the average “hot song on the charts.” Her last two tracks on the album “Miss Amor” and “Miss Camaraderie,” serve as proof that the hunger and want for success that Banks displayed when she first came onto the music scene in 2011 is still in her and is ready to set the world on fire.