Azealia Banks doesn’t know shit about American politics (or politically correctness). Good thing she doesn’t need to. Her wildly diverse catalogue of hybridized R&B-rap holds nothing back–no idea too big, no sentiment too offensive–and each project is ultimately more developed than the last. Following her phenomenal, self-released debut LP Broke With Expensive Taste, Banks dropped the eight-track surprise mixtape Slay-Z a few days ago. The mixtape featured two versions of the cover art– one features Azealia Banks’ bare breasts, which are very nice.
Announced on Banks’ recently reactivated Twitter account, she explained the mixtape was being dropped ahead of schedule because her newly fired engineer was leaking tracks. The mixtape includes previously released singles “The Big Big Beat” (An Espresso) and “Used To Being Alone” (Tony Igy), and six new tracks with Rick Ross, NYC twin sister duo Nina Sky, and production from Kaytranada. The universe has been begging for an Azealia-Kaytra collab since he remixed her Pharrell flop “ATM Jam,” and their slinky, sexy new track “Along The Coast” does little to disappoint.
The mixtape features a damn good song named after professional female basketball player Skylar Diggins, as well as lyrics that attempt to clear up the casual cryptic racism of her Twitter account (“Bad bitch I’m bodacious/ Black power but I’m no racist”).
Less about experimentalism than her LP, the mixtape explores the extremes of her signature style. Spliced between raw, hardcore ragers that prove Banks’ succession of Lil Kim‘s career as reigning female rapper (“Big Talk,” “Can’t Do It Like Me,”) are campy, kitschy, club-ready euro house numbers that show of her simply insane vocal power (“Queen of Clubs,” “Riot,” “Used To Being Alone.” Despite the project coming to use through a rather unfortunate circumstance, it’s a much-needed dose of Azealia Banks that makes me think she has much more in store for 2016.