Here is where I, Hollywood, will review music both new and old on a daily-weekly basis.
*Don’t forget to leave feedback for this page. It would be greatly appreciated.
As promised, to premiere TT, I have reviewed Azealia Banks’ mixtape, Fantasea. Fantasea, after much delay, was finally released last night to an excited and hungry fanbase. But let me tell you; it was definitely worth the wait. Below is a track-by-track review detailing just what makes this album so amazing.
1. OUT OF SPACE
This “remix” and re-working of The Prodigy song provides both a solid and space-y opening to Fantasea and “takes your brain to another dimension.” About halfway through, Banks’ cosmic rap is interrupted by a reggae infused section courtesy of the original Prodigy track. The only low with this song, and some others, is that it ends too abruptly and makes the listener yearn for more. (which may or may not be a good thing) [RATING: 9/10]
2. NEPTUNE FT. SHYSTIE
Now this, my friends, is where Azealia really shines. Neptune, in short, is the lovechild of the Little Mermaid and a chick straight out of the 212. Sonically, it sounds like the perfect mix between 212 (the previous mentioned zip code and the song that shot Banks to stardom) and Liquorice. Full of rapping, singing and a sick feature from UK rapper Shystie, Neptune gives us the first taste of the under-the-sea theme the next few tracks provide and a taste of Banks’ signature style. [RATING: 8.5/10]
Much like Neptune, Atlantis carries on the aquatic theme shared with a few other tracks on Fantasea and does it over a house beat very reminescent of the 90’s. This track provides a mix and singing and rapping like the previous track, but unfortunately, like Out of Space, it is far, far too short. A nice little quirk though, is the addition of some smooth jazz at the of the song. [RATING: 7/10]
The title track, and also longest track off the mixtape, is a grand expanse of soft pitched vocals coupled with hard hitting rap. Sadly, the vocals don’t blend with the rap as effortlessy as other tracks, even to the point of drowning out in the swing of it all. It isn’t until the end of the song where the vocals stand out. Also, the jazz outro present on Atlantis makes it’s second and last appearance on the mixtape. [RATING: 7.5/10]
5. FUCK UP THE FUN
The “diss” track of the album is perhaps one of the best, and one of the most hard-hitting. With beats provided by Diplo and DJ Master-D, Banks provides one of her fastest and sickest raps on Fantasea. While FUTF was previously shared with the world, the mixtape version provides a different and in my opinion, better, ending. [RATING: 9/10]
6. IMA READ
This remix of the Zebra Katz song is both a fresh and fun take on the original. [DID NOT RATE (SEE FAQ FOR WHY)]
Just as the name implies, this track is indeed, fierce. It’s an ode to drag culture, even including a monologue from a “queen” himself, and has a killer beat to match. Definitely a highlight of Fantasea which standouts from the rest because of it’s whit and general greatness. [RATING: 9/10]
Perhaps the first “weakpoint” of Fantasea, Chips is a slow, almost boring, track. The song doesn’t really pickup until the bridge, and even then, it falls back into a slump. (it does have a nice outro though) [RATING: 6/10]
9. NATHAN FT. STYLES P
So much can be said about the masterpiece that is Nathan, but for the sake of this review, I’ll try and sum it up. First of all, it starts with a trip-hop beat and it only gets better from there. By the time we hit Styles P’s rap, the track just loses control and becomes this amazing sea of sound. Definitely a standout track. [RATING: 9/10]
Like FUTF, this track was released through Banks’ soundclound months ago, and virtually remains unchanged from the first time we heard it. The only real differece is a monologue at the end between Banks’ and an unamed male who are discussing “all the ratchet bitches.” Nothing special, but it does add something new to L8R. [RATING: 7/10]
Jumanji, the first “official” preview of Fantasea, is comepletely different from the other songs in both theme and style. Jumanji has more of a jungle beat filled with strings, horns, and drums alike. There’s nothing much to say about Jumanji however, ‘cause it’s more of a “you have to listen to it to get it” type of song. [RATING:8/10]
Oh Aquababe, where do I start? Well for one thing, the beat is great and has some cool water drop effects, but for the first time, the downside of an Azealia song is the vocals. There not necessarily bad per se, but they don’t blend with the beat at all. It sounds like two different tracks were made, with the vocals coming from one and the beat from another. This is probably the only track that actually “dissapointed” me on Fantasea. [RATING: 5.5/10]
Again, like L8R, Runnin’ remains virtually unchanged from the version Banks posted awhile ago. That’s not a bad thing, but for me, it’s also not a good thing. I was never the biggest fan of Runnin’ when I first heard, but I admit, her split second rapping and lyrics have grown on me since then. It has definitely gone up from an “OK” track to an overall good song for me. [RATING:7.5/10]
Another unchanged track, but with US, I’m fine with that. Ever since I first heard it, I loved the beat and lyrics, and after all this time, it still sounds relatively new to me. I’m glad to see it “released” on some format, because it has everything a good Azealia track needs: clever lyrics, great vocals, and a nice, smooth beat. [RATING:8/10]
Ugh, don’t even get me started on Paradiso. It has so much potential to be grander than it already is, but for whatever reason, it’s reduced to a measly 49 seconds. Tsk tsk Azealia. [DID NOT RATE (SEE FAQ FOR WHY)]
Another gem off of Fantasea takes form in the track Luxury. This had an addicting hook, and is Banks’ most “sung” song on the mixtape. Heck, it even has whistling; nothing can go wrong with whistling. [RATING: 8.5/10]
17. AZEALIA SKIT
OK, I lied; there is one more bit of smooth jazz on Fantasea. However, unlike Atlantis and Fantasea, the smooth jazz is playing in the background. As the name implies, this is not a song, but rather a skit of sorts. It’s a thank you letter from Banks to her record label, friends and family, and very sincerely, her fans. [DID NOT RATE (SEE FAQ FOR WHY)]
18. ESTA NOCHE
And here we are, the best track off Fantasea and one of the best of Banks’ young, but sensational career. This is her “funk” song and one of her many “sex” songs. “Tonight’s the night” she cooes to her lover, who takes form in the sampled vocals of the Montell Jordan track “Get It On Tonight.” If the funk doesn’t get you tapping your foot, the sudden tempo change at around the 1:20 surely will. Banks raps about how she can get it on better than “your girl” and she’s right! No other rap girl in the game right now can step up to her level and she knows it. This track is just another example of how Azealia Banks is slowly, but surely, taking over the world. [RATING:10/10]
Although the last track on Fantasea is far too short, it delivers more than some of the longer tracks! While name dropping Jimmy Iovine and Frank Ocean, Banks does it over an insane and infectious beat. A+ for closing Fantasea on a hight note. [DID NOT RATE (SEE FAQ FOR WHY)]
Will this album change the world? probably not. Will this album provide you with a kick-ass soundtrack to summer and cement Banks’ status as the next Queen of Rap? Abso-fucking-lutely.
(Posting an old review just to get this blog started)
Azealia Banks - 1991 (EP)/2012/Hip-Hop/Rap
Van Vogue 7/10 (The monologue really brings it down for me)
212 (feat. Lazy Jay) 10/10
Overall = 9/10
The debut EP of the new “It” girl in hip-hop is nothing short of amazing! She brings something new and unique to the music scene and I admire her style and flow. I first heard about her when she was on Scissor Sister’s ‘Shady Love’ (I love her feature) and when I heard ‘212’, I wasn’t that into her and didn’t consider myself a fan. About a week and half ago, I was reading how she was gonna release this EP soon and I said, “Hey, I might as well give her another chance.” And I’m glad I did; In that week and a half I fell in love with ‘212’ and my excitement only grew from there. So I recommend this EP and Azealia in general to anybody who’s looking for a new artist to get into or who just wants to listen to some sick songs. I highly recommend the title track and ‘212’.