Broke with Expensive Taste, the official debut album from rapper/songwriter Azealia Banks, finally appeared in late 2014, despite originally having been scheduled for a 2012 release and well after several songs showed up as singles many months and sometimes years before an album surfaced. Various delays and major-label red tape ultimately saw Banks walking out on her contract with Polydor/Interscope and independently releasing the album digitally with no press notification or promotional lead-up.
Finally a reality, the strengths of Banks’ debut are incredibly strong. Aforementioned long-available singles like “212,” “Chasing Time,” and “Yung Rapunxel” showcase aggressive production that winds together dubstep’s relentless bass pounding and Banks’ talents as a fluid, sometimes vicious MC as well as a serviceable R&B vocalist. Production assistance from underground figures like Lone, AraabMuzik, Ariel Pink, and Lil Internet, among many others, gives the album an incredibly varied feel, visiting styles ranging from icy trap to Latin funk.