Happy Birthday, Angel Haze!
Although the genre has a long way to go, hip-hop has expanded its horizons wide enough to allow a space for many more perspectives. Angel Haze is an example of that growth. The rapper, born Raee'n Roes Wilson, turns 24 years old today (July 10).
Before making it as a rhymer, Angel Haze grew up in a cycle of poverty. Haze's mother was in a cult-ish Greater Apostolic Faith religion and they lived in multiple cities. She was also sexually assaulted multiple times by family members as a child and kept quiet because she feared the repercussions.
"Seeing all the things that they did to younger girls and to older girls, to manipulate people," she said in an interview with Complex. "It’s like a wild god on campus and everybody’s excuse was, ‘God told me to do this.’ It was f--ked up for me."
Haze also didn't get put on to secular music until her teens, when she picked up Aaliyah and Eminem as influences. They aren't hidden influences either. In Reservation, her 2012 breakout mixtape, she displayed an airy singing voice and included a "Hot Like Fire" cover. The rapper could also break into triple-time flow and vividly reopen wounds, like she did in her "Cleaning Out My Closet" remix, where she describes a sexual assault encounter.
While Angel Haze has earned a fan base, she hasn't quite translated it to commercial success. After a disagreement with her label that played out on Twitter, her debut album, Dirty Gold, dropped with little promotion and less than 1,000 sold in its first week in the U.S. It was a huge stumble, but not a fatal blow. At 23, she has time to step it up.
Watch Angel Haze's "Cleaning Out My Closet" Video
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