Son Raw is in the lab or lambo, Kangol or camo.

I actually really liked Azealia Banks’ 1991 EP despite the fact that everything about her public persona makes me want to hate her (fish) guts. The truth is, if you rap well at a fast pace over good production I’ll forgive you for both acting like an insufferable cunt and taking the term “insufferable cunt” as a badge of honor. I see a bunch of kids around here who’re into that weird Seapunk rave wave and they’re harmless enough despite their on-going quest to craft a visual identity that makes America’s last generation of ravers look sophisticated in comparison.

But back to Azealia: the girl can rap and her whole Missy+Q-TipXHouse Music vibe is an interesting addition to a rap landscape where everybody gets their own lane. Plus Nicki Minaj is disqualified as a viable female rapper after giving us half an album of RedOne dookie, at least Banks reached out to Machinedrum.

Nathan (you’ll see what she did there) with Styles P might help convince some haters, though. For one thing, the production implicitly refers to Timbaland circa 98 instead of Masters at Work circa 91 – always good for reeling in rap fans suspicious of your drama school pedigrees. For another, Styles P’s guest appearance is proof that she’s willing to work with rappers who probably won’t be getting dressed as mermen any time soon – with the added bonus that this is probably the most club-ready beat Styles has rapped on since The Lox’ ill-fated “We Are the Streets” album a decade and a half ago. In short it foregrounds her strength (flow, impeccable production) and lays off on her more annoying quirks (everything else.) And at the very least she’s somehow managed to avoid Gaga or Skrillex beats so far and that’s got to count for something.


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