Azealia Banks – Fantasea mixtape
DL
Available from 11 July 2012

Azealia Banks’ 212 was a smashing hit of funky hip hop and she bridges the gap between the single and her debut album with a download mixtape of mixed up beats, her own flow contrasting with sweet vocals.

Azealia Banks topped the NME Cool list last year. This is enough for some people to run screaming in the other direction, me, I listened to her and liked what I could find. Her single 212 was a slice of funky hip hop that was fresh and caustic enough for anyone.

This mixtape was given out today through her twitter page. It’s free and at nineteen tracks it’s pretty much a full album. A practise album I suppose. When Nicki Minaj released her debut album it was pretty much slated for not being as good as the two mixtapes she dropped prior to it’s release. Hopefully this won’t be the case for Ms Banks as this tape raises the expectation levels.

Beats, that’s what this music does for me, the beats going into my head, ever since I picked up a Public Enemy single and couldn’t get my brain round the weird noises behind the voice I have loved the beats.

It starts with what sounds like a rap over Out of Space which is bizarre, but any disappointment at the odd introduction is blasted away by a collection of fresh vital hip hop, a collection of guests and beats that wriggle their way into your grey matter and make you wiggle along. Her rapping is never lazy or contrived, she swears and puts down as much as any rapper I’ve heard.

The beats go from deep and dark with fantastically heavy bass sounds to crisp and jazz like. Drumming bands provide the backing to Fuck Up The Fun. The tempos go from fast to slow the rapping goes from insulting and direct to laid back and relaxed. The singing on the tracks works as a contrast to the rest.

She spars with guests, some credited and some just seem to appear across the tracks. A particular highlight is Shystie whose accent jars well against Azealia’s New York tones.

Azealia sounds on top of everything, she has stamped all over this tape and set herself up to be a force to be reckoned with. I can’t be the only one waiting for the album to arrive with high expectations.

I would have paid good money for this and told everyone I could about it. As I didn’t need to pay a penny…I bloody love it.

All words by Adrian Bloxham. You can read more from Adrian on LTW here.

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