Sounds of the Mayan 2012: Five Albums That Existed This Year – 1991 EP

So… if nothing else, 2012 proved that by George the Mayans had it all kinds of right: this year proved a renaissance of apocalyptic proportions – a year when the culturally amnesiatic cynics failed to recognize a sea change over the screams of their own skeptic scoffs… alas, even in the midst of privately-backed Super-PAC pocketed media, bindered women, NRA publicity stunts, mass school shootings, a deluge of false formations and knowledge starvation, the spectacle’s continued triumph over literacy shrugged – and oh, Sandy; even in the midst of all that, there was music – glorious music – because after all, to mark the fall, the birth of tragedy is forever conceived in the spirit of music.

Somewhere along the 365 steps on the road to perdition, albums debuted, someone named Frank caused an Ocean of tears, a boy named Ken lamented the m.a.a.d. urban terrain, and Fiona spun the wheel while time idly passed by… but this isn’t about them – although everything else prior has unremarkably revolved around the former two – this list is about five albums I listened to, five albums I didn’t need people to tell me I liked, five works that are tragic in their own right, five that may not be cool, may be too young for school, but five that at the end of the day reminded me of what “those” Mayans might play had they lived to see this day…

1991 EP – Azealia Banks


This debut EP is Banks’ foray into the music industry by being in its entirety what every great pop album captures with their tracklist: four successive opening tracks riding in like the horsemen of the apocalypse – square up. Azealia Banks hearkens to a more boldly beautiful time… a more vamped and vogued era, a most smooth new jack swelter, zoot suited synth and burgundy sugar bass. Brazen hooks spring from the mouth of Manhattan’s newest underground monarch, Kombucha punchlines break the rich beats, and track names like “1991” and “212” bring to the fore some voodoo kind of mathemagical to the mainstream. New York comes to life in a most clear 20/20 hindsight within Banks’ sonic bacchanalia. It is the cultivated synthesis of electronic music, subterranean subculture, and signature borough flow that crowns Azealia N.Y.’s most high chosen.

1991 my time has come
Oh nah nah Ma
Your time is done
Primadonna Mama, like a virgin
Private jets, my flights, no fly Virgin
I sell you, you buy, that’s my version
Mommy tie these rhymes it’s my verses
Oh me, oh my
Illuminati princess
Pyramid, one eye, on my assets
Here it is, off top, peep my progress

Just, us. “1991” is so rich you can taste it on your ear drums, you can feel it on your tongue, and that necessary core is what the mainstream is centrally void of in a world of dime-a-dozen pseudo-beauties and a busted beat. 1991 is to now what 1999 was to them – then: the year before the sea change, the year before Clinton Era pre-9/11 opulence and splendid optimism; Banks comes from a place of post-9/11 fearmongering but it hurts so good, it rides so cavalier, needless to say – the 808 has never enjoyed such heartbreak. This space was made for watching. #eyeaye

Cloud number nine, headed to the stars
Baby I ride with my mic in my bra
Baby I recite in the raw the appetite for life and the hunger for the more
The island of Manhattan
I was Born in New York, city never slumbers
I would always dream it never sleep to the hundreds
Coco with the cream in abundance
Million dollar baby you can get it if you want it, what

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