Angel Haze’s own version of Cleaning Out My Closet, which appears on her Classick mixtape is easily one of my favorite tracks to have been released this year. It’s fierce and confronting, challenging and brave as she tells her story of childhood sexual abuse and rape.
Her New York EP is, it seems her first commercial release – released digitally via Island / Universal is as good as any place for new fans to get introduced to this up and coming young rapper. Although, disappointingly, all four tracks have already appeared on her 12-track Reservation mixtape.
Earlier this year Azealia Banks promised so much with the totally killer 212 – but, for me, at least, subsequent commercial releases have fallen short of excited expectations – but perhaps I’m just like Prince’s mother – never satisfied. But unlike Banks, Haze seems to be far less about the theatre of performance and more about her substance.
Chi (Need To Know) is dreamily beat’d; Haze flows easily from half to double time in her rap and delivers a sung chorus with beautiful ease. While Supreme is much more audibly fierce in production – early techno-rave flourishes re-filtered into something relevant for 2012/13 while the rap is relentlessly good. Werkin’ Girls beats click and glitch in a glorious minimal states leaving space for Haze to display just how fiercely fast she can rap. I can imagine jaws dropping to the floor; not through amazement; but rather ‘cos her flow is so sharp it’s gonna slit other mc’s throats.
Title track, New York – sampling Gil Scott Heron’s ode to the same city and laying claim that she, not fiddy, runs that city and, when she finally spits a triple-speed verse starting “I’m lyrical coming on general / Take shots when I was a criminal…” you know she is ready to de-throne any MF-pretender.
RATING : JUST AWESOME
I have always struggled with a numerical scale; it feels so finite and arbitrary.
So the CHEESE ON TOAST Scale looks like this :
FREAKIN’ AWESOME / JUST AWESOME / REALLY GREAT / GREAT / GOOD / PRETTY COOL / NOT BAD / COULD BE BETTER / PRETTY BAD, ACTUALLY / NOT RECOMMENDED FOR EARS