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Azealia Banks’ Raving ‘Count Contessa’ Drops Before the Album That Precedes It

The cover art for Azealia Banks' new single "Count Contessa"

Azealia Banks’ career since “212” has been one very long and winding road, so consider this another fine detour: today the Harlem rapper revealed “Count Contessa,” the lead single from the forthcoming Fantasea II: The Second Wave, which is Banks’ second planned project of 2014. It has a release date of July 11, 2014, which is a bit curious considering her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste — the track list of which was posted by Banks to Instagram last week — is still without a release date of its own. We’re unsure whether Fantasea II is a proper packaged album or an internet mixtape, though Banks did use the term “album” in announcing its existence on Twitter recently. In any event, maybe this is what tech people mean by “disruptive innovation.”

“Count Contessa” was produced by British candy-rave-revivalist Lone, whose track “Pineapple Crush” was sampled by Banks on her single “Liquorice.” Banks said on Twitter last night that the track is about “a dyke who won the fist fight with Muscle Mike,” and both characters are mentioned by name over the course of the track (you can read the lyrics in full on her Tumblr). There is an overt mythology to the song, and Lone’s bright, aqueous beat helps illustrate a scene in which Banks, as Count Contessa, wages war on the shores of a beach accompanied by the sounds of lapping waves and squawking seagulls.

Banks’ music, though scattershot, has always been evocative of places — be it the griminess of a club, the glitz of the runway, or the world inhabited by the mermaid that graces the cover of the first Fantasea — and “Count Contessa” continues in that lineage. Also, uh, don’t forget that “ATM Jam” — her other album’s big Pharrell collaboration — recently received the lyric video treatment. After three weeks it’s not yet scraped 300,000 views, so it could use your help.