For those who don’t know me, I am a big fan of dance music: techno, house, electronic, even dubstep. It started when I was in high school, listening to the electronic music showcases on local radio stations late at night. Now that I’m older, it’s nice to see DJ’s I’ve been listening to for years get notoriety by the mainstream. One of those DJ’s is MachineDrum.
From the Land of Two Rivers (Eden, North Carolina) this artist emerged from the soils of the South to become a major player in electronic music. Since the early 2000’s he’s been creating sick beats that range from ambient to drum & bass, glitch to hip-hop. So imagine to my delight when I heard that he had decided to work with an up-and-coming artist from Harlem on several new projects: Azealia Banks.
Now don’t get it twisted, Ms. Banks is no a stranger to electronic music. In the past she has worked with heavy hitters like Diplo. Last year, she released the single 212, which sampled the tune Float My Boat by Lazy Jay, but her releasing tracks with MachineDrum had me more excited than usual because let’s face it: this girl can rap.
As a 90’s baby, she cites Destiny’s Child and Aaliyah along with countless other female MC’s, such as Lil Kim and Remy Ma as influences on her style. It definitely shows. And in a rap game dominated by Nicki Minaj, it’s nice to have some variety. Her newly released EP is titled 1991, the year of her birth. The title seems to coincide with the idea of a new birth for Banks since she signed with Interscope/Polydor Records earlier this year.
Straight out the gate, 1991 grabs your attention with the first track of the same title. MachineDrum’s beat is reminiscent of 90’s house music; the prominence of syncopated synth basslines. Banks’ rapping creates an “icing on the cake” situation. She is so smooth and is even featured singing on the track. Once you hear her belt out “NY rose me, Most High chose me…” you’ll soon discover how catchy this tune is, and how hard it will be to get it out of your head.
The other tracks on the EP come highly recommended as well. Van Vogue has Banks boasting her need for a crown and how she’s got Rapunzel style, a reference you never hear in music. Liquorice follows the same styling as 1991 with a strong house beat. The EP even features 212, the track that gave her the most recognition.
All in all, this EP is a definite must-have. The beats are banging, Banks’ rapping style is on point and they both come together in four playful, clever and overall jamming tracks. If your interested in more of the instrumental side , peep MachineDrum’s SXLND EP. Props to these two for releasing such a solid project.