Azealia Banks – “The Big Big Beat” (Singles Going Steady)

"The Big Big Beat" is an amphetamine-addled, dance-pop flirtation that forgoes innuendo and gets straight to the point, immediately putting its hands all over the boy it wants.

Pryor Stroud: “The Big Big Beat” is an amphetamine-addled, dance-pop flirtation that forgoes innuendo and gets straight to the point, immediately putting its hands all over the boy it wants. Azealia makes no overtures; from the gun, her hyper-sexualized, get-what-I-want flow seems to single out a prospective lover, flip him around by his collar, and usher his hand up toward the edge of her skirt, all before he’s had his second drink. The throwback-house bass thump is just as uninhibited as the vocal it arouses into being, and both this bass and vocal, coalescing into one single erogenous nerve-string loosening and tightening between bodies, are lofted over a reverberating, clipped-up hype man sample that seems to be egging all this prurience on for his own perverted benefit. Azealia’s Estelle-esque chorus premonition — “Ooo, boy / Ooo, boy / Ooo, boy, I think i know just what you need / Ooo, boy / Ooo, boy / Ooo, boy, you need a taste of ecstasy” — casts her as an impatient tease making all the first moves: she’s the girl heading home from Michael Jackson’s oft-imitated “The Way You Make Me Feel” video, but here she’s leading the way, deciding what alleyways they take, and the Michael-figure is just along for the ride. [8/10]

Evan Sawdey: Let’s just admit it: we don’t want to be reviewing this. For of Banks’ talent and genuine knack for songwriting, her public persona and especially her sexist, confrontational Twitter takes make her come off like a garbage human you want nothing to do with. However, against all odds, she’s done an astounding job of separating her politics from her art, and this big, almost-goofy scrap of a ’90s house homage feels lighter and looser than anything off of Broke With Expensive Taste, putting the impetus on the listener to confess one’s love to her. It’s a tricky balancing act, and although this breezy little number may be more passing fare than career milestone, it’s still a notable breath of whimsy from someone whose public persona seems damn near deprived of it. [6/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Nice uptempo song by Banks. The Notorious B.I.G. sample is a good touch, and Azealia brings some decent lyrics as well. However, what really stands out is her great singing, easily making her one of the best singers/rappers in the game right now (sorry, Drake). “The Big Big Beat” is pop-rap at its finest. [6/10]

Morgan Y. Evans: Nice to hear Azealia grinding out a jam over this solid An Expresso-assisted number instead of Twitter fighting with gay dudes. As a bi-sexual male who knows many very potty mouthed and not always the most culturally sensitive people across the spectrums of gender, race and political divides and as a big fan and supporter of a lot of her earlier stuff, it is too convenient and unfair to just dismiss her as the “angry black woman”, a disgusting trope in the overdue age of #blacklivesmatter and when half the artists out there have equally ranted (i.e. Kanye SNL? The Game? Numerous actors like Alec Baldwin or Christian Bale caught on tape saying angry shit, etc). The song has some of the bounce that made “212” fun and a sort of throwback soul feel here and there. Can’t we all just get along? Azealia, if you read this, I still love you. Please don’t yell at me. [7/10]

Steve Horowitz: This belongs on the dance floor, which is not a bad thing, but one can find bigger beats out there. Meanwhile, the crazy rhythm inspires sweat more than being physical in the sensual sense. There needs to be something more to hang on to than just repetition. [5/10]

Chad Miller: Deserves endless dance remixes. Banks gives an impressive vocal performance (both by rapping and singing) while the production emits pure energy. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Banks’ rapping and the sung sections provide a nice push-and-pull throughout the song, and they generally don’t crowd each other out. There’s a lot of infectious synths and samples going on here, but the whole thing floats on top of a ’90s house beat that, sorry, hasn’t aged well. The song has its moments, but overall, a mixed bag. [6/10]

SCORE: 6.43