Azealia Banks is a truly talented musician. She always has been. But in the past few years, Banks has been stuck in troll-mode, seemingly determined to distract any interested party from the whole “talented musician” thing. She has gloated publicly over Donald Trump’s victory. She has launched feuds with Rihanna, Cardi B, Lana Del Rey, and (most entertainingly) Grimes and Elon Musk. These days, she’s mostly throwing shots at Lizzo. And now, out of nowhere, she has emerged with her first full-length project since her 2016 mixtape Slay-Z. It’s a weird one.
As The FADER points out, Banks has just shared the new mixtape Yung Rapunxzel Pt. II. (The first “Yung Rapunxzel” was a 2013 single.) The whole tape is a collaboration with the hardstyle techno producer Boiling Energy, and it’s just one long, sustained half-hour track. For that entire time, Banks raps — and sings, and does fake orgasms — over a fast, pounding, relentless techno beat. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. You keep thinking it’s about to change. It never changes.
It’s worth noting, perhaps, that Banks can really rap and that she definitely shows it on this strange exercise. But unless you’re already a devotee of hardstyle techno, it is a deeply tough listen. I only made it about four minutes before scanning ahead to confirm that, yes, the whole thing is just like this. (It is entirely possible that Banks says some truly problematic stuff on this mixtape, but if she does, I haven’t heard it yet.) If you would like to experience it for yourself, Yung Rapunxzel Pt. II is below.
Azealia Banks might be a lot of things, but she’s not boring.