Album Review: Angel Haze - Dirty Gold Featured

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US rapper, Angel Haze, took music industry matters into her own hands when she leaked her début album via SoundCloud last month. Haze had finished recording Dirty Gold in the summer of 2013, but the labels weren't happy to drop the album until March of this year. Blazed with rage, Angel served up her music on 18th December, as promised to her fans: "So sorry to Island/Republic Records, but fuck you. I got here doing this for my fans and if you guys don't feel the same, it won't stop me." 


Contrary to Haze's aggressive attitude, Dirty Gold's first track is clean and well arranged. 'Sing About Me' represents a rapper ready for the mainstream. The melodic chorus and positive vibes on this tune make it a song for the radio. Keeping it real, there's nothing hip-pop about track two. 'Echelon' is the biggest hip-hop generic on the album. Here, Angel uncontrollably spits about motherfuckers and trashy bitches, including the infamous Mary-Kate and Ashley. Very Nicki Minaj.


Albeit slightly exhaustive at five minutes long, 'A Tribe Called Red' is the first track on the album to define Angel as a talented linguist. And that's real talk. Brave dialogue invites the listener to envision Haze as a warrior brought to life through musical expression. Next comes 'Deep Sea Diver', a break-up rap with top ten potential. Followed by 'Black Synagogue'; an ambitious number with gospel undertones and the pipes of a soulful spirit. Believe it or not, Angel's motherfucking intention on this album is not to intimidate, but to influence and inspire. Track six provides the logic behind Haze's refusal to let her fans wait any longer for her music. 'Angel and Airwaves' deals with suicide. It deals with it in a way that is both fearless and frightening: 'It's for everybody who knows what it is, to feel like nothing but a memory, that won't be relived'. 


The quality of genre mixing sustains itself in the second half of the album. 'Battle Cry' featuring Sia sends out more of those positive vibes; a perfect collaboration between two different and equally powerful females. The next track is where shit starts to get real personal for Haze, as rap verses riddled with pain and anger collapse into choruses of love and regret. 'Black Dahlia' is a deeply honest account of Angel's relationship with her mother. Moving on, 'Planes Fly' is an easy radio classic with an R'n'B feel. Next, 'Vinyl' is the album's chill-out track, showcasing Haze's mad vocal talent and cool skills as a songwriter. On track 15, Angel shows that her words aren't to be taken lightly as she spits 'fuck the label and the blog'. Respect to the young artist for putting her money where her mouth is. The début ends with 'New York', a fresh track with a fascinating spin and a colourful ambiance.    


No two tracks on this album sound the same; a rapping rarity. Every lyric is raw, real and relevant. Dirty Gold is an inspiring statement. A truly powerful début, delivered with risk, and rinsed with attitude. You don't fuck with this rapper. The crown is yours, Angel Haze. 

Hayley Thompson

Music and writing make me happy, so I write about music.


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