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Angel Haze Cleans Out Her Closet
October 23, 2012 10:48 PM   Subscribe

[trigger warning//NSFW-audio] In a year where Frank Ocean makes headlines by being forthcoming about his sexuality and Community star Donald Glover delivers a celebrated performance (warning: autoplay) on the BET Hip-Hop Awards, it may seem that honesty is a prevailing trend in a genre consumed by braggadocio. New York rapper Angel Haze continues this with a heart-wrenching rap that transforms Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet" from an adolescent boy's angry confessional to a young woman's crushing autobiography.
posted by raihan_ (35 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite

 
That Angel Haze track - wow :(
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:56 PM on October 23, 2012


Thanks for posting. Angel Haze is, imo, the best lyricist in rap right now. This song is just more proof.
posted by MetalFingerz at 11:10 PM on October 23, 2012


. for Angel Haze's childhood. Damn!
posted by Harald74 at 11:15 PM on October 23, 2012


Don't forget Macklemore's "starting over."
posted by holy_guacamole at 11:29 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow. That Angel Haze cleaning out my closet song. Wow.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:18 AM on October 24, 2012


God damn that is a sad song.
posted by spiderskull at 12:53 AM on October 24, 2012


Holy Fuck.

2012 has indeed been a great year for honesty in hip hop - I'll add Killer Mike's Willie Burke Sherwood to the list.
posted by mannequito at 12:56 AM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes. I really like this, and honest rap in general. What are some other examples? (and thanks for the ones already posted, great stuff!)
posted by iamkimiam at 1:12 AM on October 24, 2012


Rap has always been about honesty. Going back to early rap like The Message. Even poppin bottles type rap has been about hustling out of poverty. There many accusations you can level against rap,must being dishonest usually isn't one of them.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:12 AM on October 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


That was incredible.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:17 AM on October 24, 2012


Nice track, but I wish the producer had removed or reduced the intensity of the sharp inward breath. Is this intentional?
posted by bigZLiLk at 2:41 AM on October 24, 2012


Holy. Fucking. Shit. I want to listen over and over and pull out those phrases that make the hairs on my neck stand up and adrenaline rush but fuck I cannot do that. Just cannot. Fucking perfect.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:44 AM on October 24, 2012


jus' prove to me, that they come from from where they claim they come from.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 2:49 AM on October 24, 2012


Nice track, but I wish the producer had removed or reduced the intensity of the sharp inward breath. Is this intentional?
posted by bigZLiLk at 11:41 PM on October 23 [+] [!]


I can't imagine that it's not deliberate.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:09 AM on October 24, 2012


Nice track, but I wish the producer had removed or reduced the intensity of the sharp inward breath. Is this intentional?

Even if it wasn't it was effective for me because it sounded like the breaths some people make when they cry.

Wow.
posted by kimberussell at 3:57 AM on October 24, 2012


Wow.
posted by graventy at 4:29 AM on October 24, 2012


In case anyone's avoiding the comments on SoundCloud for the Angel Haze piece, they're universally positive and maybe worth reading. "How u speak to my whole life with this song, u won't understand."
posted by jhc at 5:21 AM on October 24, 2012


Damn.
posted by cashman at 6:28 AM on October 24, 2012


I'm always saying "oh I wish I knew more about rap," think this post may have pushed me to finally do it. Amazing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:46 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus. I don't know how anyone could hear that and not tear up.
posted by peacheater at 7:13 AM on October 24, 2012


Nice track, but I wish the producer had removed or reduced the intensity of the sharp inward breath. Is this intentional?

I would bet money that it was very intentional.

As someone who has had some horrifying stories to share about my life, that sharp inward breath is...very real.

As someone else said, it is the breath you take when you are trying really really hard not to cry all over the person in front of you. The breath you take when there is so much more to say, but you can't talk and sob at the same time. And crying slows you down and if you stop telling the story you will stop, just stop. If you pause to settle your eyes or your breathing, you give the person who is listening a space, they might use it to shut you down and tell you that it couldn't have happened that way. Or they jump in to coddle you and say, "there there, don't cry, you're ok now." As if telling you that makes it true. It is the breath that isn't quite sufficient but allows you to just keep barreling through the wall of the truth. I've told my stories enough (yay therapy!) that I can usually get through them without breaking down, or taking those wheezey gasps. But not always.

I have some boxes to finish packing, and now there is something in my eye.
posted by bilabial at 8:07 AM on October 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Wow. Let me just second showbiz_liz's sentiments.
posted by Alterscape at 8:17 AM on October 24, 2012


Incredible. Thank you.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:16 AM on October 24, 2012


what peacheater said.
posted by blendor at 3:07 PM on October 24, 2012


Damn.
posted by Decimask at 4:50 PM on October 24, 2012


Shit Donald Glover / Childish Gambino brought it. That's probably the best I've heard from him.
posted by flippant at 5:35 PM on October 24, 2012


Angel Haze is the best. Just, like, stop-in-your-tracks good.

(Also I agree with ad hominem re: rap always being about honesty; I just think we're seeing different kinds of voices in mainstream spaces, which is great. Really stoked that Angel Haze is getting such a positive response.)
posted by SoftRain at 8:44 PM on October 24, 2012


This is amazing. I'm so glad I heard it and I'll be listening to Angel Haze's future work.
posted by Aquifer at 8:48 PM on October 24, 2012


So happy that so many of you dig this... I came back and listened to it a bunch today... wow.

Angel Haze does have quite a sibiliant, breath-y delivery, You can hear it in her live freestyles, too. But I think that's a huge feature in this particular case, most definitely not a bug.

Now...

Ad hominem:
Rap has always been about honesty. Going back to early rap like The Message . Even poppin bottles type rap has been about hustling out of poverty. There many accusations you can level against rap,must being dishonest usually isn't one of them.
Didn't mean for the framing of my post to remotely relay the message that you're addressing. I'm not saying that anyone is being dishonest and didn't mean for it to come off that way. I understand what you mean, but that wasn't what I was going for.

A lot of hip-hop about "poppin' bottles" is escapist and looking towards an idealized future (some may even say Machiavellian or is that Makavelian?)... and while that is being honest about your intentions or being "real" to some degree, I'm referring to the honesty and acknowledgement towards one's self-image. That's why I singled out Frank Ocean (honest about sexuality), Donald Glover (honest about his upbringing, culture and nerdiness) and Angel Haze.

Hip-hop can truly be fantastic (whether it's Tyler rapping about "Tron Cat", Diddy rapping about Godzilla or Big and Pac uppin' that Thug Life...) and I'm not knocking it for that at all. Not in the least. Rather, I'm celebrating another side of it. Hope you dig it.

Lastly, for everyone interested in diving into rap based on this post... please check out Kendrick Lamar's excellent album "good kid, m.A.A.d city"... it is such a rich work of art. Really love it. If you like storytelling in your rap, "The Art of Peer Pressure" is such a stand-out track.

(bonus: Kendrick's feature on this BJ the Kid record is also worthy of so many superlatives. My boss is one of those "old hip-hop is better!!" kind of guys [he even co-wrote a couple Public Enemy songs!] but even he flipped out at this track... They really don't make 'em like that anymore.)
posted by raihan_ at 9:00 PM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


that was amazing, and very moving. It must of taken a lot of strength to step in the booth and lay that track down.

MAD respect to Angel Haze. I will definitely seek out more of her music.
posted by KillaSeal at 10:12 PM on October 24, 2012


please check out Kendrick Lamar's excellent album "good kid, m.A.A.d city"

Hold the phone, that's out?

Off to the record store tomorrow, I think.
posted by solarion at 1:28 AM on October 25, 2012


"The Record Store".
posted by cashman at 7:08 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, The Atlantic just posted a killer article that touches on some of the comments I made earlier. Further recommended reading: The Revenge of Autobiographical Rap.
This is not to say hip-hop has never embraced its fictional heroes. Rappers like Lil Jon and 2Chainz have similarly occupied the rap-pop sphere effectively. And we need both kinds of stories. That one is prized over the other and does so alarmingly well on the music charts is the problem.
posted by raihan_ at 3:13 PM on October 25, 2012


Those BET Cypher raps are always so damn good. (For example, Niki Minaj being awesome back in 2009.)
posted by chunking express at 11:26 AM on October 26, 2012


I'm sorry, I may just be too white, but after many tries I still can't tell what Donald Glover said about whom and why it should be considered especially honest. My google fu fails to uncover any celebration about the performance either. What are you talking about?
posted by Nioate at 4:48 PM on October 26, 2012


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