Azealia Banks Is A Mermaid For ‘Fantasea’ Mixtape; Let’s Talk About Seapunk Style

Azealia Banks’s mermaid “Fantasea” mixtape album art.
Photo: Courtesy of @AzealiaBanks’s Twitter

Followers of Azealia Banks shouldn’t be surprised by her mermaid album art for Fantasea. The girl has been sharing her love for the mythical sea people for nearly as much time as she’s been in the public eye tweeting pictures of her latest iteration of mermaid hair or barnacle-encrusted accessories almost daily. Sure, we’ve seen both Lady Gaga and Katy Perry suit up in fins before, but the way Azealia has absorbed the mermaid steez into her personal everyday steez and identity begs to be discussed, especially for its winks toward the growing EDM seapunk subculture.

Azealia’s mermaid style.
Photo: Courtesy of @AzealiaBanks’s Instagram

We know Azealia told MTV News that Fantasea was “gonna be hip-hop, there’s a lot of hip-hop on it,” but days later she also announced she was leaving the rap game. The Chicago Reader describes seapunk as “a style of electronic music that incorporates bits of 90s house and techno, the past 15 years or so of pop and R&B, and the latest in southern trap rap—all overlaid with a twinkly, narcotic energy that recalls new-age music and chopped-and-screwed hip-hop mix tapes in roughly equal measure” which sounds quite a lot like what Fantasea actually might end up being, and Azealia’s only adding to our idle-minded speculations by tweeting, “This is a test run… I tried a lot of cool things… Sounds I thought were progressive, beats made by close friends, different flowsss.” Is Azealia maybe seapunk now? Could she be fueling the movement’s rise to ubiquity with this mixtape? Regardless, the burgeoning seapunk scene is growing quickly, and it’s influence on fashion is deeeeefinitely picking up steam. Let’s take a closer look!

Seapunk-like looks from Versace Spring/Summer 2012, Jeremy Scott Fall/Winter 2012 and Chanel Cruise 2012/2013 runways.
Photo: Getty Images

Andrew Mukamal did an entire video unpacking the seapunk trend, deducing that the look was equal parts beachy pastels and holographic raver details. Rainbow colors collide with the surf trend, and it all careens under a head of candy-colored hair. Taking a look back at the past three seasons of ready-to-wear fashion week runways, the prevalence of those necessary elements is huge. First, Versace combined punky studs with a feminine color palette and a mermaid-esque starfish motif for Spring/Summer 2012. Then, Jeremy Scott helped to reinvigorate everything technicolor and irridescent about the ’90s for the subsequent season. Now, Chanel has offered up a kind of hybrid of the two for its Cruise 2012/2013 collection and the grand total is granted, SUPER high fashion, but the derivatives of seapunk in the look are pretty hard to ignore. We’re still total novices to the seapunk scene both in music and in style, but we definitely recognize that there’s something there worth talking about. What do you guys think of seapunk?

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