Album Review

I Love You

I Love You

by Amanda Blank

7 / 10
19th September

Reviewed by Hayley Koorts

Get ready for a full-on assault on the airwaves, led by fast-talking siren Amanda Mallory, aka Amanda Blank. Despite having done the rounds on the underground scene, the Philadelphia native is still anticipating her “big break”, and her first long-playing album, I Love You, promises to deliver just that. Just like her album art, Blank is loud, garish and flamboyantly provocative, always keen to break the societal mould of a “respectable young women”. Call her vulgar – or an advocate for sexual equality – whichever way you look at it, she definitely avoids indifference.

Her verbal artillery commences on the opening track “Make it, Take it”, kicking the ball off rolling at a high-paced rotation. Loading guns punctuate the intro to “Something Bigger, Something Better”, forging ahead with the militant motif. Before long, Amanda ambushes the microphone with the usual verbiage of empty threats, narcissistic rants and dollops of expletives. The backdrop is a mashed-up patchwork of sonic samples and ghettotech breakbeats, mirroring that of her cohort and sometime-collaborator M.I.A.

At times, Blank swaps her aggressive rap for more dance-oriented electronica, showcasing her surprisingly passable singing voice. Instant crushes include the hurt-so-good “DJ” (which reveals her more tender side) and the funktastic “Lemme Get Some”, featuring a slick cameo from Chuck Inglish, one-half of alternative hip-hop duo The Cool Kids. These two at least warranted repeated play on my stereo. She’s managed to enlist the forces of many other influential players in the club scene, such as the adorable Lykke Li and alt-rappers Spank Rock.

Never one to shy away from all things taboo and profane, it’s pretty clear that Amanda (or should I say, her mind) spent a lot of time in the gutter when writing the album. Her lyrics are littered with overtly promiscuous subject matter, which according to her devotees is simply a bold assertion of her own sexual liberty and empowerment – on the other hand, the prudes out there are more inclined to think she’s just a dirty harlot.

Whether you see it as crass or sass, you can’t deny the fact that Amanda Blank is evidence of the diversifying hip-hop market that is opening up beyond the mainstream formula upheld by Fitty, Notorius B.I.G. and various other T-something stage names. She is shaping the way for other creative artists to step forth and transcend the race and gender stereotypes of the hip-hop arena, and making some damn good tunes in the meantime.

Listen to While: Getting your feminist on as you get ready for a girls’ night out.

Sounds Like: A younger, sassier Peaches hanging around the Baltimore Club in a fluorescent pink, leopard-print pantsuit.

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