Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Playlist: Artist Spotlight

I've liked Angel Haze since seeing her in a cypher on BET a few years ago. She is unapologetically herself and I dare you not to notice her talent or the powerful messages to be learned from her story. Haze's father was killed in a fight while her mother was still pregnant with her. He shot himself while pistol whipping someone. Her relationship with her mother is contentious and she's said she will never return to her home city--Detroit--because it brings up the scared girl of her youth who had to survive through religious extremism and rape.

Her past hasn't broken her though. It has strengthened her and her art because she's unafraid to be blunt and honest about what she's been through. Her first mixtape, Reservation, helped grow her cult following and put her on hip hop's radar. Her latest album, Dirty Gold, is slowly growing that fan base even more. She's also been nominated for a VMA for Battle Cry, which features Sia. I'm not sure that Haze has had her breakout moment yet but I am following her career closely. I believe her shining moment is just around the bend and I'm hoping several more women MCs will be welcomed in with her.

For years, rap has been male driven and provided room for only one female rapper at a time. The chosen female was often promoted more for looks than talent (though many have been arguably more talented than most of their male counterparts). I've been waiting for a time when we had several female artists to inject the female point of view into a musical space that's become largely misogynistic. I miss the era of my childhood when female rappers were everywhere and well respected.

It appears the time is coming again and there is a long roster to check out. After you finish listening to the Angel Haze playlist, check out some of my other faves. Some have been around for a while and some are new. All are extremely talented. My female roster includes obvious choices like Nicki Minaj, Remy Ma and Missy but I also highly recommend Tink, Siya, Nyemiah Supreme, Jean Grae, Gifted Gab, Lee Mazin, Lady Leshurr and Rapsody. I could go on but that gives you enough to check out for now. Happy listening.

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