Support Women Artists Sunday: Angel Haze
Raykeea Wilson (born 1991), better known by her stage name Angel Haze, is an African American , Native American rapper and lyricist signed to Universal Republic and Island. She was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in the Greater Apostolic Faith.
She released her EP Reservation online in July 2012. She is planning a collaboration with Azealia Banks. She lives in Springfield, Virginia. In 2012, she took part in the BET Hip-Hop Award’s Cypher. She was also featured on Funk Volume’s artist Dizzy Wright’s mixtape “SmokeOut Conversations” on the remix track for “Can’t Trust Em’.” The song also featured on the track now Funk Volume artist Jarren Benton. On Angel Haze’s 2012 mixtape Classick, she recorded a version of Eminem’s song, “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”. Earbuddy’s John Downey wrote “Haze’s take on Slim Shady’s classic tune might be the superior product.” It was announced that Universal Republic Records was going defunct, making artists including Haze to move from its roster to revived Republic Records. On December 9, 2012, the BBC announced that she had been nominated for the Sound of 2013 poll.
Angel is a newcomer to the hip hop scene in more than one sense: not only is she a new and relatively underrated up-and-comer in music, but hip hop itself and the culture it comes with are new to her as well. A poet before anything else, she says: “I started writing when I was 11. It was one of many times in my life where I needed some release, some structure. So I let my words play captions to my muted emotion”. The idea that these captions might actually be lyrics only occurred to her relatively recently, when a friend opened her eyes to the possibility of turning her poems into raps.
Although not a veteran, Angel is definitely seasoned regardless of her apparent lack of experience, and people are starting to notice. To date, she’s been featured on several music blogs and websites, including a profile on HotNewHipHop and a feature for UrbanSteez’s Unsigned Hype. In two short years, she already has thousands of fans following her career online, her songs have presently surpassed the 40,000 mark in downloads, and she can count established acts like Audio Push and New Jersey’s Brick Bandits among those she’s worked with to date. When asked how she’s reached these heights with such little active promotion, Angel replies that while there seem to be so many people who want to be musicians, there are only few who actually are. “It’s all a matter of how you approach things”, she says, “stay humble, stay fierce and stay true to who you are.”
This is what differentiates Angel from so many of her peers: she is wholly and unapologetically herself at all times, regardless of any judgments that many ensue. Whether it’s her unexpectedly bold statements, her passionate desire for success or her closeted fear of it, Angel Haze is never comparable to anything but Angel Haze, and it works to her benefit. Drawing inspiration from acts as diverse as her audience, she likens herself to a “rapper smoothie”, combining the tastes and styles of many to create a completely fresh and unique flavor of her own.
While it seems like every musician’s goal to gain recognition and success via their art, Angel has further ambitions: “I want to make people feel connected. I want to tell a story – everybody’s story”.
Cleaning Out My Closet
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