AZEALIA BANKS, Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Evening Standard 15 Oct 2012

It’s not exactly the most troublesome problem in the world, but the buzz surrounding Harlem rapper Azealia Banks has brought her a long way rather too quickly.

First covered in these pages a year ago, she travelled the UK as the highlight of the influential NME Tour back in February and ought to have put a debut album out by now.

Instead this headlining tour came on the back of one notorious minor hit and a free mixtape, her album not coming until next spring at best, bringing a fast-paced club show to a venerable theatre.

Playing for little over half an hour, she offered spectacle in the form of flashy big screen visuals, two dancers and a bra that sparkled with crystals and blue lights. She raced through her setlist, which aside from the sharp-tongued rapping had more in common with Nineties house music than current hip hop.

Fierce thundered along on heavy house beats. Van Vogue was minimal in structure with stabs of synths and an opportunity for Banks to demonstrate her impressive singing voice. The foul-mouthed frenzy of 212 shocked with the c-word but also had an energy that suggested the hype could be justified. She’ll play bigger venues than this, hopefully with more substance in her pocket.

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