In a new interview with XXL, controversial loudmouth rapper Azealia Banks was asked to describe her experience as an artist in the major label system—she was briefly signed to Interscope and Polydor from 2012 to 2013—and the lessons she's learned since parting company.
After clarifying that she walked away from Polydor—not Interscope—because they refused to release her singles, Banks spilled the beans about the failure of her "ATM Jam" single with Pharrell:
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.
In lieu of an oversized cork board with thumbtacks and red string to help connect all of these dots, basically: Pharrell gave the "ATM Jam" beat to Mac Miller, but Miller didn't end up using it for his album. Pharrell then gave the record to Azealia, asking her to write a record to it for Beyoncé. Instead of writing a record for Beyoncé, though, she wrote a record for herself. Banks' label (Polydor) paid Pharrell $40k for the record (which came out of her budget) and selected it as a single, but after she became cancerous and before she was blackballed by the entire industry, Williams wisely distanced himself from Banks and the record, which was then dead on arrival without his support and backing.
Banks is currently independent and, according to the artist herself, planning on releasing new material through the remainder of 2017. Following years of horrible press, which she acknowledges repeatedly in the XXL interview, and the fall out from her made-up record deal with RZA in 2016, at the point, the only thing that can save Banks' music career is incredible music.