Harlem native Azealia Banks is part of a modest surge in female rappers, joining the likes of Kreayshawn, Iggy Azalea and the ubiquitous Nicki Minaj. With her new mixtape, Fantasea, Banks makes a forgettable impression.
The first 10 tracks of the nearly hour-long mixtape are filled with non-stop frenetic, high-pitched, sped up electro-dance house beats. For some reason, this style of production is met with universal respect across genres, but it’s become so de jour in hip-hop and R&B these days that it’s taking on an auto-tune like redundancy.
It’s hard to make a fair judgement on whether or not Banks is a promising MC/singer, because she is so drowned out by these unnerving beat selections. Her personality or style really don’t come to the fore, aside from that of an electro-dance pop master of ceremonies. Oddly enough, there are short jazzy interludes sprinkled throughout Fantasea. The contrast couldn’t be more stark.
Taken alone, tracks like “F*ck Up the Fun” are actually sort of catchy. But amidst the onslaught, it’s easy to hit skip, or even just put it on shuffle so as not to get two in a row.
As for lyrical content, Banks seems content to be utterly vapid. On “Jumanji”, she invokes Foxy Brown, but it’s hard to take her seriously with lyrics like, “you’re fruity tutey and booty.”
Fantasea really only has one note, a kind of constant thumping, that ultimately lands with a thud.
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