1991 (EP)

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1991
EP by Azealia Banks
Released May 28, 2012 (2012-05-28)
Recorded 2011–12
Genre Hip house
Length 16:06
Label Interscope
Producer Machinedrum, Jef Martens, Lone
Azealia Banks chronology
1991
(2012)
Fantasea
(2012)
Singles from 1991
  1. "212"
    Released: December 6, 2011 (2011-12-06)
  2. "Liquorice"
    Released: December 4, 2012 (2012-12-04)

1991 is the first extended play (EP) by the American rapper Azealia Banks, released on May 28, 2012, in the United Kingdom and a day later in the United States, by Interscope Records. Its lead single, "212", preceded its release on December 6, 2011. A further single, "Liquorice", was released on December 4, 2012.

The EP was not eligible for the UK Albums Chart, but the title track charted at number seventy-nine on the UK Singles Chart. It also reached 133 on the US Billboard 200 on the issue dated June 16, 2012, and number twelve on the Rap Albums chart, number seventeen on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and number one on the Heatseekers Albums chart. On release, 1991 received acclaim from music critics.

Background[edit]

Under the name Miss Bank$, she released her first recording "Gimme a Chance" on the Internet in February 2009.[1] The recording was accompanied by "Seventeen", a track produced by the American DJ Diplo which sampled the Ladytron song "Seventeen".[1] Later that year, Banks signed to the XL Records label and began working with the producer Richard Russell. She left the label later that year due to conflicting ideas.[2][3]

After leaving XL Recordings, Banks dropped the Miss Bank$ name and became Azealia Banks, which preceded a move to Montreal. Using YouTube as a portal, Banks uploaded several demo tracks, including "L8R" and a cover of "Slow Hands" by Interpol. In September 2011, Banks released her first single "212" as a free digital download from her website; it was released officially on December 6, 2011, as the lead single from one of Banks' future releases.[4]

Development[edit]

Though unsigned at the time, Banks began working with the British producer Paul Epworth on a studio album. It was announced in December 2011 that Banks would appear on "Shady Love", a track on the fourth studio album by the American band Scissor Sisters, though her appearance would remain uncredited. An accompanying music video was released in January 2012 following its radio première from Annie Mac (BBC Radio 1) on January 4,[5] though the release of the single was cancelled for unknown reasons. On January 16, 2012, Banks released the track "NEEDSUMLUV (SXLND)" on the Internet, coinciding with what would have been the thirty-third birthday of the late singer Aaliyah, who is sampled on the track.[6] A week later, a second track, "Bambi", was released. Produced by Paul Epworth, it had been selected as the soundtrack for a Mugler fashion show in Paris.[7] In February, Banks revealed the tentative title of her first album, Broke with Expensive Taste.[8][9]

Release[edit]

Originally scheduled for release on April 17, 2012, 1991 was delayed following the musician's change of management on April 13.[10] The EP's artwork and track listing was published online on May 15, with confirmation that 1991 would be released first on May 28 in the United Kingdom.[11] The project was to be released digitally on May 29 and physically on June 12 in the United States, she announced on Twitter.[12]

The original track listing had three tracks: the single "212", "1991" and "Grand Prix".[13] Following the delay, it was extended to a four-track EP, with the tracks "Liquorice" and "Van Vogue" in place of "Grand Prix".[11] Banks confirmed on Twitter that she has re-written "Grand Prix", produced by Lone, and it will feature on her debut studio album Broke With Expensive Taste under the new title of "Miss Camaraderie".

Singles[edit]

The EP's lead single, "212", was first released in the United Kingdom on December 6, 2011.[4] The track, which samples and credits "Float My Boat" by Lazy Jay, had some chart success in Europe, reaching number seven on the Irish Singles Chart and number twelve on the UK Singles Chart.

"Liquorice" was released as the second single on December 4, 2012.[14]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[15]
Boston Phoenix 4/4 stars[16]
Robert Christgau A[17]
Consequence of Sound 3/5 stars[18]
eMusic 4.5/5 stars[19]
Fact 3.5/5 stars[20]
Pitchfork Media 7.7/10[21]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[22]

1991 was widely acclaimed by music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, it received an average score of 84, based on nine reviews.[23] Allmusic editor David Jeffries noted Banks' "lyrical wonder" and called the EP a "short house-rap blast".[15] He commented that Banks "acts as if she had been raised at a classic N.Y.C. loft party, one where you kept dancing and dissing", and found the production "nostalgic [...] as if this EP fell through the cracks of the Paradise Garage's sweaty disco floorboards and then evolved in some alternative and fierce universe".[15] In his consumer guide for MSN Music, Robert Christgau called "212" the EP's highlight and quipped, "I hope this is the dancey hip-hop Nicki Minaj's haters claim to miss and know full well it's too effing dancey for 'em—not to mention too virtuosic, beatwise, layered, less-is-more, and much."[17] He described 1991 as "quick-tongued, lascivious, catchy, and delighted with itself" and wrote in conclusion, "there hasn't been a more pleasurable record all year and probably won't be—not even by her."[17]

Although he found it somewhat inconsistent, Alex Macpherson of Fact compared Banks favorably to Missy Elliott and stated, "while the quality of the music remains disproportionate to the hype, it does make her bratty rejection of the rap establishment feel that much more thrilling."[20] Will Hermes of Rolling Stone wrote that its four tracks "spin hip-hop backwards and forwards" and concluded, "More, please."[22] Pitchfork Media's Lindsay Zoladz called it "another example of Banks' versatile skills" and stated, "the half-statement of 1991 reminds us that Banks is still an artist in her development stage."[21] Chris Dart of Exclaim! found Banks' "fast" rapping "remarkable" and commented that she "manages a feat that takes most rappers the better part of a career to master: the perfect marriage of bangin', club-friendly beats and smart, crisply delivered lyrics."[24]

The album was listed at #30 on Rolling Stone '​s list of the top 50 albums of 2012.[25] Time ranked 1991 as the 9th best album of 2012.[26] In 2013, 1991 was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), having shipped 35,000 units in Australia.[27]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "1991"   Azealia Banks, Kevin James, Travis Stewart Machinedrum 3:30
2. "Van Vogue"   Banks, Stewart Machinedrum 5:57
3. "212" (featuring Lazy Jay) Banks, Jef Martens Lazy Jay 3:24
4. "Liquorice"   Banks, Matthew Cutler Lone 3:18
Total length:
16:06
Sample credits
  • "1991" samples "DDD" as performed by Machinedrum.
  • "Van Vogue" samples the track of the same name as performed by Machinedrum.
  • "212" samples "Float My Boat" as performed by Lazy Jay.
  • "Liquorice" samples "Pineapple Crush" as performed by Lone.

Charts[edit]

Chart (2012–13) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[28] 63
Australia Urban (ARIA)[29] 10
Ireland (IRMA)[30] 97
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[31] 79
US Billboard 200[32] 133
US Top Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[33] 1
US Top Rap Albums (Billboard)[34] 12
US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums (Billboard)[35] 17

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Catalogue no. Ref.
Australia May 28, 2012 Digital download Polydor Records N/A [36]
Belgium [37]
United States [38]
Australia June 12, 2014 Vinyl record ISCB001700201.1 [39]
United States CD Interscope Records N/A [40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Freeload: Miss Banks, "Seventeen" + "Gimme A Chance"". The Fader. February 6, 2009. 
  2. ^ "BBC Sound of 2012 - Artist Profile > Azealia Banks". BBC. January 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Azealia Banks has pop at XL Recordings". The Quietus. January 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "212 (feat. Lazy Jay) – Single by Azealia Banks". iTunes Store UK. Apple Inc. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Scissor Sisters reveal new single 'Shady Love' – Music Video". Digital Spy. January 3, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Azealia Banks – NEEDSUMLUV (SXLND) > featuring Aaliyah". Crack in the Road. January 16, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Azealia Banks releases 'Bambi' online". stereogum. January 27, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Who is Azealia Banks?". Complex. February 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ Lisa Robinson, "Hot Tracks" profile, Vanity Fair, June 2012 (p. 90)
  10. ^ Ramirez, Erika (April 17, 2012). "Azealia Banks delays '1991' EP". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 
  11. ^ a b "Azealia Banks confirms '1991' EP tracklist". Digital Spy. May 15, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Azealia Banks reveals release date for '1991' EP". Rap-Up. May 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Azealia Banks to release '1991' EP". Pitchfork. March 28, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Liquorice – Single by Azealia Banks". iTunes Store UK. Apple Inc. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c Jeffries, David. "1991 – Azealia Banks". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  16. ^ Weiss, Dan (July 10, 2012). "1991 – CD Reviews". Boston Phoenix (Boston: The Phoenix Media/Communications Group). Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (June 22, 2012). "Azealia Banks/Rye Rye". MSN Music. Microsoft. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  18. ^ Staples, Derek (June 1, 2012). "Album Review: Azealia Banks - 1991 EP". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on July 5, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  19. ^ Patrin, Nate (May 21, 2012). "Azealia Banks, 1991". eMusic. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Macpherson, Alex (June 20, 2012). "Azealia Banks: 1991". Fact (The Vinyl Factory). Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Zoladz, Lindsay (June 8, 2012). "Azealia Bankz: 1991 EP". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b Hermes, Will (May 29, 2012). "1991 EP". Rolling Stone (Wenner Media). Retrieved June 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ "1991 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  24. ^ Dart, Chris (June 13, 2012). "Azealia Banks - 1991". Exclaim!. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  25. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2012: Azealia Banks, '1991'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  26. ^ Wolk, Douglas (December 4, 2012). "Azealia Banks, 1991 EP". Time. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  27. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  28. ^ "The ARIA Report - Issue #1171" ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  29. ^ "The ARIA Report - Issue #1205". ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Irish Recorded Music Association. July 1, 2014. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Official UK Singles Top 100". Official Charts Company. June 9, 2012. Archived from the original on June 7, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Azealia Banks Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Azealia Banks. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  33. ^ "Azealia Banks Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums for Azealia Banks. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  34. ^ "Azealia Banks Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top Rap Albums for Azealia Banks. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  35. ^ "Azealia Banks Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums for Azealia Banks. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  36. ^ "1991 – EP by Azealia Banks". Australia: iTunes Store. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  37. ^ "1991 – EP by Azealia Banks". Belgium: iTunes Store. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  38. ^ "1991 – EP by Azealia Banks". United States: iTunes Store. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Buy 1991 Azealia Banks, Urban, Vinyl". Sanity. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  40. ^ "1991: Azealia Banks". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 14, 2012.