(Opinion): A little over a year ago, the fiery, outspoken hip-hop artist Angel Haze released her first EP. Her talent was immediately recognized and with the help of an infamous feud with fellow hip-hop artist Azealia Banks, Haze was thrust into the spotlight. The release of her latest album, “Dirty Gold”, in December exemplified the independence and boldness of Haze. After Island/Republic Records pushed back the release date of Dirty Gold, Haze decided to upload the entire album onto Soundcloud for the public. While the album has gotten mixed reviews, most being relatively unenthusiastic, Dirty Gold’s aim “to be a voice for the voiceless” works to bring hope and comfort to those that need it.
Haze’s road to fame was no walk in the park. In some songs, Haze details the haunting stories of sexual abuse she suffered in her childhood. Besides sexual assault, Haze was confined to the strict religious community of her family. With these complicated and harmful experiences, Haze is able to create blistering rhymes and honest lyrics. On top of her complex past, Haze has also publically discussed her sexuality. In a recent interview, Haze said if she had to identify she would identify as pansexual. She describes pansexuality as falling in love with people, not gender. A nod to queer theory: the rejection of heteronormativity and classification. We have seen a push in this way of thinking within the world of music. Angel Haze and Azealia Banks have been front and center of this movement in the mainstream hip-hop world. Many other queer identified artists have gotten some mentions but Haze continues to be the dominant face.
With her album Dirty Gold, Haze is able to break all labels and speak her mind. She rejects all classifications along the lines of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and so on. Song after song on the album preaches survival and hard work. In her hopeful track Angels & Airwaves, Haze puts forth lyrics about finding yourself and never getting lost. While some critics may be confused by the fluidity or lack thereof in Dirty Gold, the wanderers and the ones that have taken the journey to find themselves can relate to these words. Haze is in a special position within the music world. She does not operate by the heteronormative way of life, she rejects all binding classifications and her popularity is rising everyday. With a voice like Angel Haze, the ideas of queer theory can be spread into the mainstream music industry further than every before. Creating a safe and comforting environment in hip-hop for individuals struggling with things such as sexual orientation is more rebellious than leaking an album behind the record company’s back.
By: Peter Lyon