Azealia Banks’ “Yung Rapunxel”: Review Revue

Hey, did you know that feudmaster Azealia Banks actually makes music, too? That’s right! She’s not just known for fighting with everyone — she also has songs! Her latest, “Yung Rapunxel,” dropped yesterday a few weeks ahead of schedule, and it’s made quite a splash for, well, being the weirdest, most virulently rageful rap-screamo single from an ostensibly mainstream artist we’ve heard in a minute.

The critics mostly agreed, noting the intensity of the production and Banks’ delivery along the tune’s distinctly radio unfriendly vibe — but whether it compensates for all that public embarrassment remains unclear. Check their best quotes below.

:: Entertainment Weekly asked the question on everyone’s mind — “What is a Yung Rapunxel, anyway?” — describing the song as “a doozy” and writing: “Banks’ spitfire raps are delivered in a low register over a busy background of punishing beats and chaotic screams. ‘Jumanji’ this ain’t.”

:: MTV Buzzworthy called it a “bona fide hip-house banger,” noting: “Produced by seapunk DJ and internet pioneer LIL INTERNET, the ‘Barely Legal’ rapper is back spitting fire over a manic ’90s HI-NRG-influenced track, which is cut in between muffled hollers.”

:: As for E! Online, they discussed the evolution from “212” to “Yung Rapunxel,” writing: “[The song] takes its name from one of Banks’ many monikers and is described as the twisted sister of sorts to her breakout hit ‘212.’ It’s a blend of rap and screamo, which, for the record, we’re totally into.”

:: Our friends at Spin mentioned the song’s unavoidable intensity and drew comparisons to Kelis: “If Banks’ contentious ‘Harlem Shake’ remix recalled Kelis’ ‘Milkshake,’ this one channels the ‘hate you so much right now’ fury of Kelis’ ‘Caught Out There,’ another track that goes from regular voice to INSANE SCREAMING on the hook. The insistent instrumentals more than keep pace.”

:: Popdust felt that the song departed from her previous sound, with variable success: “As the first ‘real’ music we’ve had from Banks in more than a year, the track is a departure from her previous Seapunk sounds; like Kate Nash she’s decided that random screams make a fine disruptive element. It’s not all new, though, as Banks brings that bouncy ‘212’ flow back for one verse.”

:: The Prophet Blog called the witch-hop tune “bait for the haters,” writing: “Against a backdrop of demented club beats and scary sound effects, Banks’ alternates between almost indecipherable raps and distorted shrieks. Like Salem and Crystal Castles, it often sounds more like a coven casting a spell over techno tunes than simply just ‘dance music.’”

What do you think of the new Azealia Banks single? Sound off in the comments, then head over to Directlyrics.com to read the song’s full (and very scabrous) lyrics.