Words About Music
Angel Haze “Dirty Gold”
Albums leak. It’s something that happens all the time for plenty of albums. In fact, I can’t think of a single popular album that hasn’t leaked since Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne.” It’s rarely the fault of the artist or the record company, and sometimes they let the album stream beforehand to combat the dreaded leak. Some artists, though, choose to leak their own albums without much of an announcement. Death Grips have done this twice, Beyoncé did it last month, and up-and-coming rapper Angel Haze just did it. While doing this can raise hype, there wasn’t much of a thirst for Angel Haze after she leaked her debut “Dirty Gold.” She was fed up with her record company for waiting too long (in her opinion) to drop “Dirty Gold” so she posted it on her SoundCloud. Then it was abruptly removed by the record company. Angel won the battle as the release date was moved up to December 30 from its March 2014 release date. Kind of a downer if you were looking to get album reviews and commercial success, but oh well. No matter when it came out, it’s an album that the public can purchase and listen to of their own volition. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s as good as Angel Haze hoped it would be.
It’s known that Angel Haze’s life has been something of a struggle, specifically her childhood. It makes sense that she’d want to use her music to help people through similar struggles, whether it’s with their own sexuality or with abuse. With that said, as great as the intention is, the music itself is redundant to say the least. It’s not something you’d want to bump in the car, let’s just say. And considering this is the person who gave us the excellently fiery track “Werkin’ Girls,” it’s not like we shouldn’t expect fun music. And not all hip-hop has to be fun. It’s just that if you want to make serious tracks, there’s a way of going about doing so that makes it interesting. Danny Brown has pretty much perfected this art. Angel Haze is a long way.
“Dirty Gold” is a well produced record. The beats are fascinating, in my opinion. In fact, some of them would work on a more upbeat album. To take that notion further, actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Angel Haze’s nemesis Azealia Banks spitting over a few of them, specifically the one on “Sing About Me.” Even when the beats aren’t fast-paced, they are well crafted and just generally great beats. They have me moving my head even when the lyrics they’re underneath are cheesy. I’m not doubting the production on this album as it’s probably my favorite part of the whole thing. That part of this record is fairly consistent.
I’m also not doubting Angel’s ability to rap. She has a great flow to her and I like her voice. Even when she sings I like her voice. If Angel Haze were more adventurous I wouldn’t hesitate to liken her to someone like M.I.A. Unfortunately, the human voice and the producers’ ability to make a good beat are not the only aspects that make hip-hop albums. The lyrics on this thing are not really relatable. I’d like Angel Haze to be like M.I.A., but instead she’s more like a “Recovery”-era Eminem, complete with the cheesy hooks. There’s nothing wrong with being inspirational and using your musical skill as some sort of platform, but is there anyone who spends all their time listening to inspirational music? At some point that gets boring, and when you devote your entire debut studio album to this sort of theme, you have a recipe for an inherently boring record. Angel spends a good portion of “Dirty Gold” trying to relate to people who maybe suffer from depression or have been abused throughout their lives by saying “I’ve been there.” Want to make a powerful, emotional hip-hop record? Discuss that at length! What if N.W.A. hadn’t rapped in detail about the daily horrors of living in South Central Los Angeles? What if Danny Brown didn’t rap about his drug abuse and his days as a drug dealer but instead spent an hour telling you not to do or deal drugs?
The more I listen to “Dirty Gold” the more I begin to understand that Angel Haze is trying to be inspirational but doesn’t use anything to relate herself to the people she’s trying to inspire, at least not that I can tell. Sometimes I feel like I’m listening to a post-Russell-Brand Katy Perry song. I’d like for Angel Haze to devote her skill to the more fun side of her persona, because she’s a lot better at that than she is at trying to be relatable.
SCORE – 5.9
FAVORITE TRACKS – Sing About Me, Echelon (It’s My Way), Battle Cry, Dirty Gold