If you’re of normal, generally optimistic (or perhaps unquestioning) human stock, the most disturbing thing about Azealia Banks’ “Yung Rapunxel” video is the fact that she has mouths for eyes. If you’re a conspiracy nut (or, to be fair, a “Vigilant Citizen”), you’re more worried about the eye that stares at the camera from behind her head affixed, as it is, to a floating hand.
Yes, Banks’ latest clip is packed to the gills with could-be references to the so-called Illuminati, a shadowy supposed organization who some believe manipulate musicians in order to spread their ideas and imagery. Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and just about everyone else with power stands accused of being their puppet — mostly by the website Vigilant Citizen, who’ve even pointed to Dim Mak and LCD Soundsystem as furthering the occult agenda.
VC’s most recent takedown begins thusly: “An owl with an eye of a different color flies out of Azealia’s head, who also has one eye of a different color. Yes, another one-eye signal by a pop artist, very original. The owl is the most ancient symbol representing the Illuminati. Does the fact that it flies out of her head represent the fact that her mind is owned by Illuminati people?”
From there, it’s all yin-yangs, all-seeing-eyes, police state oppression, and “sex magick” bull rides — evidence enough, according to the Citizen, that Banks is being influenced by dark forces. But the fact that “Yung Rapunxel” is packed with lazy, evocative symbolism should come as no surprise to those who’ve followed the Harlem rapper’s rise. Remember when she pissed off the #seapunk vanguard by co-opting their steez? Or that time she got everyone riled up by tweeting something controversial? Or that other time? Or that one? Or this one?
Miss Banks’ track record points to a rich history of that specific strain of attention deficit disorder so often misdiagnosed as a common case of look-at-me-itis. And besides that, enigmatic, evil-ish cult iconography is shorthand for “counter-cultural” (hi, skateboarders!) If the powers that be (hi Interscope!) are indeed encouraging Azealia to adopt the Wiccan symbol of the Triple Goddess, it’s probably to convince you that they’re cool — not that you should give up God and sacrifice your sister to Baphomet.
Then again, Banks has a cat named Lucifer.