1991 (EP)

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Azealia Banks - 1991.jpg
EP by Azealia Banks
Released May 28, 2012 (2012-05-28)
Recorded 2011–12
Genre House rap
Length 16:06
Label Interscope
Azealia Banks chronology
Singles from 1991
  1. "212"
    Released: December 6, 2011
  2. "Liquorice"
    Released: December 4, 2012

1991 is the debut extended play (EP) by American rapper Azealia Banks. It was first 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. Its second single, "Liquorice", was released on December 4, 2012. Banks also released music videos for every song, including the non-singles 1991 and Van Vogue.

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.


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]


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 and promotion[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] In 2013, 1991 was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), having shipped 35,000 units in Australia.[13]

The original track listing had three tracks: the single "212", "1991" and "Grand Prix".[14] 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".[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] "Liquorice" was released as the second single on December 4, 2012.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 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]
The Phoenix 4/4 stars[21]
Pitchfork Media 7.7/10[22]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[23]

1991 received widespread acclaim from 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.[24] AllMusic editor David Jeffries was amazed by Banks' lyricism and called the EP a "short house-rap blast".[16] He said 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".[16] Chris Dart of Exclaim! was also impressed by her quick rapping and argued 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."[25] In his consumer guide for MSN Music, Robert Christgau called "212" the highlight of an EP whose music is minimalist yet skillfully crafted: "quick-tongued, lascivious, catchy, and delighted with itself ... there hasn't been a more pleasurable record all year and probably won't be—not even by her."[17]

In a less enthusiastic review for Rolling Stone, Will Hermes said the four tracks on 1991 "spin hip-hop backwards and forwards", although he felt it was too short.[23] Alex Macpherson of Fact felt the EP is somewhat inconsistent, but he 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] Pitchfork Media's Lindsay Zoladz called it "another example of Banks' versatile skills", but lamented how "the half-statement of 1991 reminds us that Banks is still an artist in her development stage."[22]

1991 was ranked by Rolling Stone at number 30 in the magazine's list of 2012's 50 best albums,[26] while Time named it the 9th best album of 2012.[27] In a year-end list for The Barnes & Noble Review, Christgau ranked 1991 as the 11th best album of 2012 and the title track as the year's 13th best single.[28]

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:
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.


Chart (2012–13) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[30] 63
Australia Urban (ARIA)[31] 10
Ireland (IRMA)[32] 97
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[33] 79
US Billboard 200[34] 133
US Top Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[35] 1
US Top Rap Albums (Billboard)[36] 12
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[37] 17


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[38] Gold 35,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Catalogue no. Ref.
Australia May 28, 2012 Digital download Polydor None [39]
Belgium [40]
United States [41]
Canada June 1, 2012 Vinyl Interscope [42]
Australia June 12, 2012 Polydor ISCB001700201.1 [43]
Germany None [44]
United States CD Interscope [45]


  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. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Azealia Banks to release '1991' EP". Pitchfork. March 28, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Liquorice – Single by Azealia Banks". iTunes Store UK. Apple Inc. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c Jeffries, David. "1991 – Azealia Banks". AllMusic. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June 22, 2012). "Azealia Banks/Rye Rye". MSN Music. Microsoft. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. 
  18. ^ Staples, Derek (June 1, 2012). "Album Review: Azealia Banks – 1991 EP". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on July 5, 2012. 
  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. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  21. ^ Weiss, Dan (July 10, 2012). "1991 – CD Reviews". The Phoenix. Boston. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b Zoladz, Lindsay (June 8, 2012). "Azealia Bankz: 1991 EP". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b Hermes, Will (May 29, 2012). "1991 EP". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 10, 2012. 
  24. ^ "1991 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  25. ^ Dart, Chris (June 13, 2012). "Azealia Banks – 1991". Exclaim!. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  26. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2012: Azealia Banks, '1991'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  27. ^ Wolk, Douglas (December 4, 2012). "Azealia Banks, 1991 EP". Time. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 14, 2013). "The Dean's List 2012". The Barnes & Noble Review. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Azealia Banks – 1991 (Vinyl)". Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  30. ^ "The ARIA Report - Issue #1171" ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  31. ^ "The ARIA Report - Issue #1205" (PDF). ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Irish Recorded Music Association. May 31, 2012. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Official UK Singles Top 100". Official Charts Company. June 9, 2012. Archived from the original on June 7, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Azealia Banks – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Azealia Banks. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  35. ^ "Azealia Banks – Chart history" Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums for Azealia Banks. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  36. ^ "Azealia Banks – Chart history" Billboard Top Rap Albums for Azealia Banks. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  37. ^ "Azealia Banks – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Azealia Banks. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  38. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  39. ^ "1991 – EP by Azealia Banks". Australia: iTunes Store. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  40. ^ "1991 – EP by Azealia Banks". Belgium: iTunes Store. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  41. ^ "1991 – EP by Azealia Banks". United States: iTunes Store. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  42. ^ "1991 [EP] (Vinyl)". Amazon.ca. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  43. ^ "Buy 1991 Azealia Banks, Urban, Vinyl". Sanity. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  44. ^ "1991 Ep [Vinyl LP]". Amazon.de. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  45. ^ "1991: Azealia Banks". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 14, 2012.