When I spoke highly about Angel Haze on The NY Hip Hop Report, I mentioned that one song in particular on her Reservation stood out, capturing my attention enough to publicly co-sign her, even after only a couple of listens. That song was “Castle on a Cloud,” which touched upon Angel Haze’s possibly painful past, and let me know she possesses a particularly skillful and honest way of delivering her real-life experiences over tracks.
When I mentioned her again during last week’s episode, I spoke on seeing her perform at the Mass Appeal CMJ showcase. Yes, she can spit. Yes, she has good stage presence. But I noted that in a crowd that might be there to hear someone else, the greatness in her appeal was a bit lost, because her stregnth isn’t necessarily in her flow, voice, diction.. all which are strong in their own right, but in her words, lyrics, thoughtfulness, vulnerability. Those facets of her spit game are difficult to get across to a crowded showcase crowd. They gave her respect, but if they weren’t familiar with her beforehand, they might have missed the best part of what she does.
That quality, and my evaluation of it, is demonstrated by her version of Eminem’s “Cleaning Out My Closet,” a scathing and personal account of Angel Haze’s troubled past, including sexual abuse, in sometimes disturbingly graphic detail.
When we debate whether female MCs should simply be called MCs, in an effort to equalize the often unequal gender gap in hip hop, we forget that sometimes, a great female MC can provide a perspective that their male counterparts never could, and when doing so, as Angel Haze has done in this case, it’s OK to be a female MC, especially one that does this good a job at expressing herself on the mic.
Check out Angel Haze – Cleaning Out My Closet below