Songs I Wish Everyone Knew: “1991” by Azealia Banks

It feels like everyone knows who Azealia Banks is by this point, but that just isn’t the case. Her gobsmacking debut single, “212” was worshiped by critics upon its arrival in late 2011, but it took a bit of time to catch on to the public. The “public” was really only in the UK, though, where the song cracked the top-20. She’s a big name in certain musical subcultures and communities, but Ms. Banks isn’t the superstar it feels like to those in the “in crowd.” Nonetheless, she is one of the most provocative and endearing artists in the world today and it actually feels like she is on the verge of becoming a megastar (her current fans are dying to sit back and proclaim, “I knew her when she was a nobody.”) To tide us over until the release of her first studio album, Broke With Expensive Taste (due out early next year,) Azealia released a flawless mixtape, Fantasea, and a proper 4-track EP, 1991, which includes the singles “212” and “Liquorice.” However, the highlight of the extended play was clearly the title track. Much like the other songs on the EP, she essentially takes a previously released instrumental track and uses it as a platform to do her thing. In this case, it’s “DDD” by Machinedrum. Now, this may sound lazy on the surface, but the way she transforms the songs is absolutely amazing. 9 times out of 10 you’re going to want to listen Azealia’s “version”, simply because she makes it better. “1991” shows off her sharp tongue and spitfire ability to be fresh, interesting, and completely vulgar; she’s intuitive. She bridges the gap between hip hop and dance music far more authentically and creatively than anyone else out there. Nikki can’t touch her, Flo Rida can’t touch her, and the Black Eyed Peas certainly can’t touch her. If you’re not familiar with Ms. Banks yet, despite what feels like every opportunity in the world, welcome to the cool kids’ table; “1991” is going to blow your mind.




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