Azealia Banks, ABC, gig review: Harlem rap diva proves thrilling

Banks delivers music as hard-edged as her confident and lyrically raw vocals

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The Independent Culture

“I’ve turned in my album a couple of times…” mused Harlem rap diva Azealia Banks at one point late in the show, hinting at part of the reason this tour had been put back six months.

When she first broke in 2012, Banks was the next big thing. Now, two years later and free from her original contract with Universal, the debut album Broke With Expensive Taste remains unreleased and unslated.

On this too long delayed evidence, the world is missing a crossover star.

Looking like a pint-size Beyonce all in black (PVC skirt, lace shirt, straightened hair) and with a quartet of hard-working dancers and a DJ behind her, Banks delivers music as hard-edged as her confident and lyrically raw vocals.

She promises “sex for your breakfast” in Heavy Metal and Reflective, declares herself an “elite rap bitch” and that “NY rose me / most high chose me” in 1991 (the year of her birth), and screams the lyric down the end of a loudhailer in Yung Rapunxel.

Amongst the most well-received tracks here – the Peaches-style sass of BBD (Bad Bitches Do It), the crunching dancefloor sound of No Problems and her breakthrough hit 212 – there are shuddering EDM basslines which are thrillingly of their era and waiting to be capitalised on.

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