We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club, and a lot of it’s too good to ignore. In Playlisted, we spotlight new music that’s slightly off the beaten path.
Album: 1991 EP by Azealia Banks (out now digitally, physical release June 12)
Press play if you like: ’90s house music; sparse, swaggering beats paired with lavish R&B hooks; sweaty summer basement parties; swearing
Some background: Azealia Banks’ late-2011 single “212” won over pretty much the entire Internet with its banging fusion of Lazy Jay’s “Float My Boat” and Banks’ flexible, foul-mouthed flow, which morphs from a sparkler to dynamite in the span of a bass drop. Music blogs have been tracking every move the 21-year-old Harlem rapper makes since then, and with the new EP, 1991—named for Banks’ birth year and one of the record’s main sonic references—she’s provided the first in an upcoming series of releases to answer the hype. (A mix-tape titled Fantasea is set for July, and an as-yet-unconfirmed full-length is due later this year.) Though the four-song 1991 clocks in at less than 20 minutes—15 if you skip the exasperatingly unnecessary spoken outro to “Van Vogue”—it’s bound to fuel the fire with its perfectly timed mix of sassy summer jams.
Try this: Resist the urge to skip right ahead to “212” and spend some time with the title track, on which Banks dials back her batshit vocals to a Missy Elliott-like groove that rides a dancehall wave before diving into a late-stage hook straight out of a ’90s R&B playlist.