Azealia Banks debut ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’ worth the wait

Sam Osborne

 It’s been just over three years since Azealia Banks erupted from the underground rap scene in Harlem into public consciousness with her infectious and belligerent single “212.”  Banks, clad in a Mickey Mouse sweater and pigtails in the viral black and white video that has since garnered over 77 million views, was immediately heralded as the answer to fellow female rapper Nicki Minaj. The two are both alumnae of LaGuardia High School. 

Despite a promising EP and mix tape released in 2012, Banks never quite capitalized on the buzz following “212.” Instead, she became known for her penchant for Twitter feuds, ranging from celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Pharrell and even fellow female emcee Iggy Azalea.  After being dropped from her label Interscope in July, it looked as if her long-delayed debut album, initially planned for a fall 2012 release, would never see the light of day. Then, when no one was watching, Banks, in the same vein as Beyoncé, dropped her debut “Broke With Expensive Taste” suddenly on Nov. 7.

The 16-track album silences any doubters of the 23-year-old Harlemite’s talent. Banks showcases her trademark spitfire flow throughout the album, but also displays an eclectic range of influences, including house music, UK garage, trap and soul. 


“I like sprite the mosta/ I ride roller coasters/I try all the cultures,” Banks sings on “Soda,” a house track about loneliness. 

On flamenco-infused “Gimme A Chance,” Banks raps an entire verse in Spanish, never missing a beat. 

On standout track “Ice Princess,” produced by sought-after producer AraabMUZIK, Banks delivers a frosty and confident braggadocio, “Colder than December/My diamonds on Anna Wintour/So that’s fly ice in my life.” 

“Broke With Expensive Taste” is an impressive album, one that doesn’t pander to the radio, but far surpasses any recent releases from fellow female rappers. Banks may not play nice, but she proved she’s worth the wait.