MUSIC: Angel Haze

(Courtesy of Creative Commons)

On the last song of her latest EP, Classick, Angel Haze tells the audience, “This might get a little personal, or a lot actually. Parental discretion is advised.” The line could be the tagline of the whole mix tape. This latest work from the YouTube rap sensation is an extremely personal record, filled with the same raw emotion of her past work. But unlike Haze’s two breakout songs that drew the attention of the music world, “New York” and “Werkin’ Girls,” the songs on this EP disclose the painful details of the overnight star’s history. She discusses her life growing up, as a victim of both domestic and sexual abuse. When we first heard Angel Haze, we had no idea where this furious energy came from; in Classick, she makes it pretty clear.

Classick is comprised of beats from instantly recognizable rap songs that reveal many of Haze’s influences. Songs by stars like Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z, and Lauryn Hill are ambitiously reworked by the 20 year old. Though all the songs on the album are quite powerful, Haze’s version of Eminem’s “Cleaning Out My Closet” is the most notable —it’s a harrowingly graphic tale of Haze’s stepfather sexually abusing her. She spares no detail and makes you suffer right along with her.

Are any of these songs better than “New York” or “Werkin’ Girls?” Probably not; they’re not as metrically tight. Is this album worth listening to? Yes. Does Angel Haze give us a hope for a future of rap in which rappers carry the beat and not the other way around, when clever rhymes and emotional power are not mutually exclusive? We will have to wait for her first major album to drop in the spring, but I think yes.

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