Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Azealia Banks: Broke With Expensive Taste [Prospect Park, 2014]
The articulation of our most musical young rapper is crystalline without flaunting its precision. Her singing rolls full and easy from somewhere in her torso. The grain of her voice is both pretty and sensual. And unlike her male counterparts she doesn't equate sex with power--there's verbal as well as vocal evidence that she feels it elsewhere than her genitalia. That said, she does seem to equate rapping with power--her troubles are the usual star-time overindulgences, and just about every terrific song here is a boast one way or another. Yet just about every song is a serious pleasure regardless. Here's hoping that when she achieves the security she deserves, she uses her IQ for something more useful than battling a melanin-deprived rival who admits more vulnerabilities than she does. A