UPDATE: Prospect Park has clarified that despite Banks’ tweet that she is a “free agent,” she is still signed to the record label but will no longer be managed by the company.
Less than a year since signing to Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park, rapper Azealia Banks has announced a split from the management company after releasing her full-length studio debut, Broke With Expensive Taste, on Nov. 6.
“I’m leaving Prospect Park guys. AB is back on the market!” tweeted the Harlem, NY, native yesterday (July 20), who is still signed to Prospect Park Records. “I want to make a super duper pop record. Like Disney style, but clever.”
A spokesman for Prospect Park confirmed the severance from management, explaining that they decided to cut ties with the MC but keep her on the imprint. “We can confirm that we chose to terminate our management relationship with Azealia Banks,” the rep told Billboard. “We believe she’s one of the most talented artists in the world and are very proud of the work we did on her behalf. We wish her all the best.” A representative for Banks did not respond for comment as of press time.
Her partnership with the company, whose label counts Five Finger Death Punch and Knox Hamilton and whose management company counts Ice Cube and Dead Sara as clients, led to the surprise release of BWET, her oft-delayed project that garnered critical acclaim and debuted at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 without promotion. The LP spawned a handful of boundary-bending singles and accompanying videos including “Heavy Metal and Reflective,” “Ice Princess” and “Chasing Time,” the latter of which peaked at No. 12 on Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart.
Banks, 24, traveled a rocky path to release BWET. Often criticized for her online spats with fellow rappers and sharp opinions, she initially signed with XL Recordings in 2008, only to part with the imprint soon after due to creative differences. She self-released the single and video “212” in 2011, leading to viral success and a record deal with Interscope in January 2012. Her debut EP, 1991, released that May, followed by her Fantasea mixtape that summer.
But after releasing numerous one-off singles, Broke failed to materialize, and fans started to question if the album would ever see the light of day. “I’m really in hell here,” she tweeted in January 2014. “Universal needs to just hand me over to another label who knows what to do with me … I’m tired of having to consult a group of old white guys about my black girl craft.”
Interscope released her from her contract that July, along with the rights to the music recorded during her time at the label. She signed to Prospect Park two months later, and in the time that followed, she played a career-defining show at Coachella and covered publications including Playboy and Billboard.
At the Billboard shoot in April, she said there were two projects in the works: “There’s Business and Pleasure, which is the next proper album, but then there’s Fantasea 2: The Second Wave, which is going to be a continuation of Fantasea 1 but I still want to treat it like a proper album. I think Business and Pleasure is indicative of maturing, and Fantasea 2 is going to be all weird and kooky and mermaid girl stuff.”
I’m leaving Prospect Park guys. AB is back on the market!
— AZEALIA BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) July 20, 2015