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Azealia Banks Says She Was Paid £600,000 To Leave Polydor Records

Azealia Banks has a long interview in XXL today, and if you’re the type of person who is still interested in things that Banks has to say at-length, you may find it worth your time. For the rest of us there is still some good stuff, including an interesting peek behind the music industry curtain, in which Banks talks about a battle for creative control of her music, her unsuccessful lead major label single “ATM Jam,” and her eventual exit with Polydor:

Was there a big lesson that you walked away from Interscope with? Like after being in that system did you come to a realization or learn something you didn’t know before?

Actually, I didn’t walk away from Interscope. I walked away from Polydor. Polydor, they weren’t trying to put out my singles. They wanted me to do the “ATM Jam” with Pharrell, and Pharrell felt like the controversy was too much, so he completely fronted on the whole thing. Meanwhile, that came out of my budget. It was $40,000 to get this beat from Pharrell, which was a leftover that he had sent to Mac Miller. He had wanted me to write it for Beyoncé. Basically everybody had this beat. I’m the only one who could come up with something for it, so Pharrell basically haggled my label into giving him the $40,000, and then he just ghosted on the entire thing.

So here I am stuck with this shitty single that I can’t promote because the guy who’s on the record won’t help me promote it, and that was supposed to be my first single. And that was Polydor. Polydor’s decision was to go with “ATM Jam.” A long time ago, like a year before “ATM Jam” came out, Jimmy Iovine said “Miss Amor” was the first single. Now, Polydor was upset because they put all this money in the deal for me to move to London, but I made friends with Larry Jackson, and I felt more comfortable with Larry Jackson, so I just stayed in L.A. with Larry Jackson and Jimmy. That kinda caused a lot of tension with Polydor, and they used their power just to kind of fuck up anything. Jimmy Iovine literally said “Miss Amor” was the first single, and Polydor just wanted to be contrarians, and they used their power like some bad sugar daddies. They used their power to say that “ATM Jam” had to be the first single, and that’s why everything fell apart.

For so long I wanted “Miss Amor” to be my awakening moment. And I still haven’t been able to have that moment. I wrote a script for “Miss Amor,” I had a mini-movie, I rehearsed it. I had the girls, I had the choreography. All I need now, at this point, is the money to shoot this mini-movie that I wrote. But, I could have done all of this when I was on Interscope and had the budget, had Jimmy Iovine been able to do what he wanted to do with me.

And here you have everybody making fun of me because I got dropped. I didn’t get dropped. Actually, Polydor had to pay me to exit the deal. They had to pay me £600,000 [$777,000] to exit that deal.

In the meantime, Banks says she’s working with some dude she met in an Uber, so we’ll see how that goes…