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Angel Haze

AngelHazeDirty Gold
Island Records/Universal

Here’s an album to divide folks. As a rapper, Angel Haze has immense attitude and displays more skill than most big names of the moment without veering into the territory of Foxy Brown or Lil’ Kim. Then there are the choruses. Haze demonstrates in her raps that she’s a thoughtful songwriter, but these sung hooks are going for a pop sound and for a hardened rap fan, they just don’t land. There again, if you are looking for an original sounding R&B album, this could be just your cup of tea – the beats are somewhat innovative, drawing on a trap (as in Southern rap) vibe, while Haze demonstrates she really can sing. This might sound confusing, but it’s also quite interesting. Neither the rap or pop parts of her songs sound forced at all. Haze is a creative artist and just seems to be trying to showcase her range. This duality does work well on certain tracks such as single Echelon (It’s My Way) and the Sia-assisted Battle Cry, where the subtle singing or use of a guest vocalist, makes the juxtaposition less jarring. Maybe the album title gives it all away from the outset. It’s overly polished in some places, but streetwise and grime-y in others. It’s hard to say whether this album will make waves or get swept aside, but either way Haze is someone to keep an eye on.

NICK SWEEPAH

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