Angel Haze - 'Dirty Gold' Review

by Ed Cannon

First I’d like you to picture your Top 10 favourite rap artists. I would heavily bet most people would mention Kanye or Jay-Z, Eminem or Snoop, Notorious or 2Pac in that Top 10 but how many of us would list a female rapper in such a list? Recently the numbers of female rap artists have risen with artists such as Iggy Azalea, Azealia Banks and Skylar Grey taking these top spots.

However Angel Haze has been hailed as the next big artist, with much hype surrounding her album Dirty Gold which was due for release in March 2014. Yet the album was leaked by the artist herself as a rebellious act against her label, Island Records - fitting as she appears to be breaking all the rules in this male-dominated genre. Whether this was a PR stunt or a genuine act of rebellion remains unclear, however in numerous tweets she has stated “Sorry to Island/Republic Records, but f**k you”.

The album itself has been cooking for a while with many famous hands dipping in: Sia, who has written recent tracks for Rihanna and Rita Ora, wrote the track Battle Cry, and both Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons) and Mike Dean (Kanye West) helped produce. There are many tracks which have mainstream potential although it is clear that this is not the point of this record. Angel Haze even stated to NME that “it’s definitely not Hip-Hop” and I would agree - it transcends that classification with a combination of features from pop, old school rap and modern beats.

Echelon is a must listen because of its jokey lyrics, poking fun at “trashy bitches in classy clothes”, and Battle Cry for its raw emotion and ballad quality. However my favourite track would have to be White Lilies/White Lies which is a catchy tune that shows Angel Haze’s uncanny ability to switch between melodious vocals and spitting lyrics. In fact, her singing voice has been overlooked by many because of her rapping, yet her clear notes contrast with her fierce rhymes perfectly to create richer tracks. The album certainly lives up to the hype and is a perfect showcase for this young artist who refuses to be put in a box even by her own label.

Listen to this if you like any classic female hip-hop artists like Missy Elliott, or even singer/songwriters such as Ed Sheeran. The entire album is worth listening to because each track is so wildly different from the next - a feature reminiscent of Eminem’s early works.