Azealia Banks, 1991 EP (2012)
I was sent a copy of this EP – a download – and obviously the reason anyone got hold of this EP was because of 212. It swamps the EP; the other three songs don’t really come close. But 212 was such a banger that I decided I wanted the vinyl. You see, back when I started buying records for the second time – after an early burst of op-shopping – I was interested in collecting up records for a time-capsule of sorts; records that were something really special within the context of the year they came out, records that spoke out and/or stood out. And I guess I still do look for that – any of the year’s really great new releases I review I will purchase on vinyl. If I like the album then I’m buying the vinyl. And that was the case here. But I did it, pretty much, because of that one song. It is the song of the year for me. The sound of an underground artist going overground in a brilliant, subversive way. And that video is a winner. That’s been a huge part in the success story here. Azealia Banks has other tricks. I’m sure of that (I’ve heard some of them). And time spent with the EP shows that the other songs are slowly catching up. They’ll never actually catch 212. And she’ll never beat it, never even – really – compete with it. In terms of how it hooked people in, caught people (unawares). People that have no facility for any kind of hip-hop or dance music were spellbound by this song. People convinced their finger is on the pulse still can’t shake this song, even if it’s no longer the done-thing, hipness-wise, to admit it. And then there’s those of us in the middle of those two extremes. And I’m convinced this is the song of the year. And I’m glad I have the EP as a physical release. But it was disappointing that the record label chucked it out with a thin cover, no download (I already have it – but, hey, for other people I’m thinking…) and nothing to make it in any way remarkable. $20 for four songs. Those are worse than iTunes prices! But hey, it does have the song of the year on it at any rate. And what a banger it is.
Sample Track: 212 (featuring Lazy Jay)
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