With her video for Werkin Girls landing and this week's series of sold-out decibel-shattering gigs across London, Angel Haze has arrived. Wonderland talks to NYC's best new rapper.
“My EP came out two days ago. You should know the fucking words!” barks MC Angel Haze at downtown Manhattan's rave-friendly Santo's Party House to an enthusiastic crowd… who apparently aren't enthusiastic enough for the 21 year-old. She executes dizzying, visceral flows like a madwoman to celebrate the release of her EP, Reservation. It's a dark and thrilling experience. But unlike her idol, Eminem, haze's rapid-fire rants don't come across as her psyche unravelling, but a demand to be heard. Spoiler Alert: Haze has succeeded.
When we meet earlier in teh day, Haze isn't the same startling lyric-spitter as she shuffles into a NoHo studio wearing Dr. Martens and a flannel dangling from her petite waist. She seems more like a skinny jeans-clad hipster you'd find in her neighbourhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn than a theatrical hip-hop starlet.
It take just a “who is Angel Haze?” for her to burst out of her shell: “Angel Haze was born on September 8th of 2010 as a rude, bitchy little brat,” she says proudly. “Either you were gonna hate her or you were gonna agree with her, because she was always gonna says whatever she wanted to say with no regard to anyone's feelings. It's like, 'I'm right, you're wrong, shut the fuck up.'” Haze made her name via YouTube videos such as 'Fuck Who Likes YOU!!!' preaching about teen issues.
But her growing pains were anything but ordinary. Native American by birth, she was raised with her twin brother by her mother, a member of an Apostolic cult. “The pastor was getting girls who were like 14 pregnant, like it was normal,” she mumbles. “I didn't listen to music until I was 15.” At around 18 years old, after relentlessly moving to numerous ghost-towns, Haze's mother “changed overnight” and escaped.
Poetry was Haze's escape, which mutated into her alter-ego's fierce flows, and she confronts these demons on her EP. The self-professed cage-rattler adds: “I've been here for four months and I don't see any reason why I don't run New York because I'm better than all of these bitches here. If you disagree, get the fuck out!”
Words: Alex Catarinella
Images: Aaron Stern