If you need to reclaim your faith in the power of hip-hop, check out the song titled “Cleaning Out My Closet” by Angel Haze, off her mixtape, Classick.
The song explores her experience of sexual abuse (at age 7), and even considers how that experience may have led her to thoughts of suicide. In the song, which reflects on the effect of this experience on other aspects of her life, such as her pan- sexuality, the emotional harshness and unwavering rhythmic deftness is always present.
21-year-old Angel Haze (real name: Raykeea Wilson) was born in Michigan and now resides in Springfield, Virginia. She stopped off in New York City on her way through. She released her EP ‘Reservation’ ( Free and online) in July 2012. In 2012.
She was also featured on Funk Volume artist Dizzy Wright’s mixtape ‘SmokeOut Conversations’, on the remix track for “Can’t Trust Em”. The song also featured new Funk Volume artist Jarren Benton
This January Haze released a diss track supposedly – aimed at Azealia Banks, titled “On the Edge” – although, more recently, the two rappers have reconciled- to some extent.
She also makes a guest appearance on Rudimental’s “Hell Could Freeze”.
We had a listen to Reservation:
‘This Is Me’ starts with a sugar-plum fairy jewel-box, to illustrate leaving home just a kid. The missive is written on the bus. It has yawns of lustrous synths- these sound like gasping for air – to provide strength for the “Don’t / Let me Go…” chorus. There is bewildering conflict in the lyrics- it is as if she half wants to turn around and return to home (and hatred) but she needs to grow – and let her soul fly free. This is exemplary and acute.
‘Wicked Moon’ features Nicole Wray (“Make It Hot”) and demonstrates a silvery voice that crests such altitudes you fear for your own safety. And, elusive at first, you realize that there is a monster lurking in the corner of this house. Wolf eyes are watching you. Waiting for a moment to capture and claw. You sweat panic / passion. Breath now, and prepare for the flight. Undoubtedly, this is one of the biggest songs of the year. It will leave you snarled and confused.
‘CHI – Need To Know’ is more delicate, it is about studying the mechanism that drives the love. And trying to understand the emotion. Is it chemistry? Does it have to include aggression? Is it the vital force that drives everything? The low-notes burn, and scuff the edges of the otherwise sweet sounds. It is a handsome wad.
‘Supreme’ has a drilling nightmare screaming around in your head. It wakes you up and shakes you up. The rapid-fire voice comes to a tender-trap every now-and-then. It’s a race, but you need to pace yourself.
‘New York’ claps and wallows.The caressing voice that creeps inside you bubbles all hollow and cheap. This is a direct challenge – a running race- to Azealia. The chicken noodle soup bitch? ‘Hot Like Fire’ moans and gleams like oily limbs folding into positions of supplication.
‘Werkin Girls’ kills you from the off. It is a shoot em up. A running gunner of a song. You will need quick thumbs to keep up with the rhythms here. But that is what work is now. Quick feet, quick senses, rapid changes, fast thinkers.
‘Castle on a Cloud’ is a beautiful soft pack of contemplation. Wrapped. And kept hidden. A gift of pain and explanation. And the poignant choir sings out in anguish “I wanna let it go -bit I don’t know how…” but even that cry is not as bad as the feeling of never being able to get down off that cloud again.
Haze is still seeing the pain of the past in ‘Sara Tavares – Balance’ even though the passionate words are spat out against a luxuriant Spanish guitar accompaniment. (Sara was abandoned by her parents at a young age.)
‘Drop It’ is a nylon dream. Full of static and blue flashes of brilliance. It will flash up in the clubs, intense and sheer in its intensity. Only two tracks are credited with feature artists (Jungle Fever and Wicked Moon) – so this piece shows off the superb skills and pure competences of Haze. Stunning stuff.
‘Smile n Hearts’ completes this tremendous album. After an emotional promenade, you get the hook – Smile N Hearts – an oasis of calm before returning to the fray. The next verse allows Haze to examine an empty childhood – and the accompanying feeling of hollowness – together with latent anger. But she still dreams. Because, if she can’t… All she can do is suffer.
-© Neil_Mach February 2013 –
You can download the whole thing at StereoGum http://stereogum.com/1098832/download-angel-haze-reservation-mixtape/mp3s/