Harlem rapper Azealia Banks dropped the video to her newest single “Yung Rapunxel” yesterday, continuing her plans for all-out world domination. The producer of the rowdy, upbeat anthem is New York producer/video director/Seapunk expert Lil Internet. Here he tells Hive the story behind the song’s creation — which involves an 18-month gestation period and very vital take-out sushi — and teases his other track that Banks has ear-marked for her highly anticpated debut Broke With Expensive Taste.
How did you start working with Azealia Banks?
It was kinda like psychic. I was listening to her on Soundcloud before she got her big deal and everything and I thought she was dope and decided I should try and see about doing a song with her. I never sent her a message or anything, but within 12 hours of that she sent me a message on Soundcloud saying she’d been listening to my beats all summer and wanted to do a song with me. She asked where I was — I was in New York — so we met up and got sushi that night and actually started working on “Yung Rapunxel” that night. But it was a long time ago.
How long ago was this?
I think it was around October of 2011.
What was the sushi like?
I think it was good. She’s a real connoisseur and really knows what she’s on about. She’s good at ordering food and has really good taste.
Where did you record that night?
A lot of it was done just staying up all night long in hotel rooms and in studios so some of it was done in New York and some of it was done in London and I guess it was finished in L.A. It’s something that’s been in the making for a really long time and we kept revisiting and reworking on it every time we were in the same place.
Is the finished version of “Yung Rapunxel” very different from the original idea?
In terms of the beat, it isn’t really. But in terms of what it’s been through, it’s been a pretty clear metamorphosis as the intention was very clear from the beginning. It’s obviously not a conventional single and it’s not a conventional beat where it’s placeable in a neat genre category either. The real intention was for it to be something chaotic, something kinda to stir shit up and burn shit down and make room for a new start. I think this was the song that really embodies the pinnacle of all the chaos and angst and anger at just the injustices and just how difficult it is to really exist in this world right now. I think “Yung Rapunxel” is really about that and about that side of her personality. The beat certainly, for me, came out of a really chaotic place. The songs is supposed to be about the embodiment of chaos and that was always what it was about in the beginning.
Are you working on anything else on Azealia’s album?
It’s kinda funny ’cause every time I put something on my Soundcloud she hits me up and says, “I want that, take it down!” So I have to take the beats down. I can’t say for sure but I’m really hoping that another one I did will be on the album. “Yung Rapunxel” is definitely my favorite thing I’ve ever made just ’cause it’s really unique, but the other one that I hope gets on the album that’s she’s working on is a little bit more easier to swallow but it still has a really dark futuristic energy to it, but it’s definitely something that’s a little more familiar to people in the clubs and on the radio. At the same time it’s certainly got a little bit of a war drum feeling.
Are you producing for any other artists at the moment?
Not really. I direct music videos for a job so my time is always split. I’m hoping I’ll be able to work with more artists soon but at the same time my style isn’t very conventional and neither is Azealia’s — we both have similar mind-states so she’s a really perfect person for me to work with and we work really well together. But at the same time I have a million ideas but I’m split between different mediums because of the other stuff that I do.
Who would be on your fantasy list of artists to produce for then?
I would really like do something [with Rick Ross] and for him to be really open to any beat I’d give him. It’s not even so much about what he says, it’s just about the larger-than-life personality and attitude. I really think we could make something that would bring out the right feeling and emotion. Then I’ve always been inspired by Trent Reznor — Nine Inch Nails is an all time favorite, especially with opening my ears to the fact that any sound conceivable can be an instrument. Industrial music really taught me that in general. I’d love to work with The-Dream. I’d like to work in K-Pop or J-pop too, especially with Yasutaka Nakata … and Depeche Mode. Depeche Mode have written some of my favorite songs ever.
Watch Lil Internet in Weird Vibes 14: The Year Seapunk Broke: