A year has passed since I last wrote about the "controversial" rap sensation, Azealia Banks. Since then, Broke with Expensive Taste* saw a release in November of 2014 on her new label, Prospect Park and announcements were made confirming the intent to release the follow up to Fantasea known as Fantasea II: The Second Wave; an intended album called Business and Pleasure was given a tentative 2016 release date.
*BWET would debut and peak at #30 on the Billboard 200 and spawn the #12 Dance/Club hit, "Chasing Time"
Sadly, shit went left and as of July 20th, 2015 Banks announced via Twitter [the social media nectar and Achilles' Heel of Banks] that she was leaving Prospect Park**. This marks the 3rd (!) failed label attempt after XL Recordings didn't even entertain her music, Interscope Records having failed in promoting her music at all and now Prospect Park for reasons that aren't totally clear***
**According to Billboard.com, Prospect Park says "...she is still signed to the record label but will no longer be managed by the company." but that kind of means...nothing.
***When asked what label she could sign with, Banks was quoted on Twitter as saying, "Anybody really, I'm just looking for something with the least amount of strings attached."
Now some questions arise yet again about her future in music; Will Fantasea II: The Second Wave ever have the fortune of seeing a release? Is Business and Pleasure going to be scrapped? Are there more producers beside Machinedrum and Lone that are willing to work with Banks? Just what the hell is going on with labels and Azealia Banks?
First, it is not all that wise to write off nor fully endorse the idea that FII:TSW will see the light of day. The last known brief of the project was to continue the "mermaid" vibes from the original Fantasea. The only known single from FII:TSW, "Count Contessa", was not given the safety net of inclusion on BWET. It's most likely going to end up on the project, but at this rate it won't end up totally surprising if either the project will be diminished in scale or worse case scenario, scrapped.
Second, Business and Pleasure doesn't even have its iteration of "Count Contessa" to gauge Kunt Brigade interest in the project. For God's sake, a remix of "Ice Princess" from BWET was allegedly made but never released [and is more than likely scrapped with this latest label split]. So for now all BaP thoughts shall be regarded as mere speculation.
Third, the Machinedrum and Lone well doesn't seem like it's going to dry up. However, more producers did show themselves as willing to work with Banks on BWET. Lil' Internet and AraabMuzik are the most recognizable names alongside Machinedrum and Lone in terms of Banks friendly producers. There's a slim possibility that "Chasing Time" Remix Lab contest winner, Amorphous, will either have his remix appear on BaP or produce a new track for Banks****
****There's also the possibility of "Chasing Time" Remix Lab runner-up to 5th place contenders, Division 4, Chew Fu, pedrowl and Eyad Madani respectively making appearances on a a future Banks project.
Finally, the "Million Dollar Question"; what the hell is going on with labels and Azealia Banks? In this case, what attached strings did Azealia find with Prospect Park? This was the most fruitful relationship she's ever had with a label. BWET was released, she had her first single chart in the U.S. [on the Dance chart], played Coachella 2015 and even announced the project known as BaP*****
*****She's even playing the lead in the RZA directed movie, Coco, in which she plays an aspiring rapper type!
So what the hell happened? The best guess is that despite the better [than at least XL and Interscope] handling of Azealia's music, Prospect Park had failed to promote said music for U.S. radio. Way to drop the ball on someone who finally released her much anticipated debut album, played U.S. dates and even scored a film role.
A word of advice to the next label to swoop her up while the iron's hot; promote her music to U.S. radio. Start with "1991" and work your way to "Chasing Time". And a bit of advice for Azealia herself [regardless if she takes it or not]; stay. the FUCK. off. Twitter. Unless it's promoting the music, stay away from Twitter. PLEASE.
Now for a bit of fun, here's Complex Magazine's retelling on the split with this certain part of the article "translated"...[http://www.complex.com/music/2015/07/azealia-banks-leaves-prospect-park-records]
"...Banks Tweeted before adding, 'I want to make a super duper pop record. Like Disney style, but clever.'"
- Apparently, Complex does not get sarcasm on the first try.
All that can be said now is "Good Luck Azealia Banks!" and "Good Luck!" to the next label that signs her.