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Posts Tagged ‘Angel Haze

My Top Ten Afropunk Musicians With Some Favorite Songs

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Afropunk has become my number one favorite music genre. Consisting of punk rock, alternative, and indie music, this genre is a part of a movement for black people to show identities not shown in the mainstream. Now, I will show you my top ten Afropunk musicians and some favorite songs by each one.

10. Shinobi Ninja

Genre: Rock, Rap, and a dash of techno

Favorite Songs: Power Strangers, Gloom Doom

9.  Santigold

Genre: Rap, reggae, rock, electronica

Favorite Songs: Shove It, God From The Machine

8. Alice Smith

Genre: soul, jazz, blues, rock

Favorite Songs: Woodstock, Desert Song

7. Cecile Mclorin Salvant

Genre: blues, jazz

Favorite Songs: Poor Butterfly, I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate

6. Tamar-Kali

Genre:  Punk rock

Favorite Songs: Pearl, Fire With Fire

5. Divinity Roxx

Genre:Rock, Rap

Favorite Songs: Get Here, Get Yo Fix

4. Noisettes

Genre: hard rock, blues rock, pop

Favorite Songs: Burn, Atticus, Sister Rosetta

3. Angel Haze

Genre: Rap, spoken word, r&b, pop

Favorite Songs: Angels and Airwaves, Planes Fly, Who I Am, Summertime Sadness (Cover)

2. Janelle Monae

Genre: rock, funk, pop, classical, rap,  jazz, r&b

Favorite Songs: Cindi, Come Alive (War of The Roses), Locked Inside, Q.U.E.E.N.

1. Kimya Dawson

Genre: Folk

Favorite Songs: Happy Home (Keep on Writing), Wandering Daughter, Singing Machine. Burn

 

Authoress Note: I’d like to thank everyone for following my blog and reading my posts. It means a lot to me! Also, I will be taking classes and doing an internship this summer so I may not post for a few months.

 

National Poetry Month Spotlight: The Connection Between Poetry and Rap

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Warning: Some of the content mentioned in this post contains strong language.

If you told me ten years ago that I would find rap music that I actually related to and learn to appreciate it, I would have said, “Yeah right, rap music sucks!”

The truth is, rap and poetry are more connected than I ever thought possible. It is not because rap and poetry can rhyme. It is because that with the right person, both of these mediums can have powerful and beautiful words.

Let me clarify something. I do NOT consider rap and poetry the same thing. I’m in my early twenties and I’ve been a poet for a decade and have read and written a lot of poetry.

Although I couldn’t tell you the lyrics to a Tupac song, I’ve listened to more than a dozen rap songs. To me, rap and poetry are two different things that can be connected.

My definition of rap is words spoken to a beat that rhyme. My definition of poetry is not only rhyme, but also metaphor, imagery, and other elements. Sometimes, these definitions can come together.

For instance, take the songs “Breathe”  (lyrics here) and “A New Star Is Born” (lyrics here) by the late Lisa Lopes.

To most people, she was known as Left Eye of the R&B hip-hop girl group TLC. I believe that she could have been a great solo rapper if she had been able to release this album in the United States and do more solo work.

If you listen to the songs and follow along with the lyrics, you’ll see why I consider Lopes a poet and rapper. On “Breathe”, she raps to the beat and her words rhyme, but her wordplay is very clever.

One of my favorite lyrics from this goes,” This here wand has a magic stick/Throat-wise called the Larynx/Helps me spill it, my utter of a mind/I milk it/So that it hits your back with spiritual parmalat/I farm the black/Spirit staff, Spirit staff, Spirit staff.”

On “A New Star Is Born”, there is only a little clever wordplay. However, the way Lopes speaks makes the song more like a spoken word poem than a rap song.

At the moment, the only living rapper I am a fan of is Angel Haze. She is unique because she has done spoken word poems and rap songs as well as some singing. One of my favorite spoken word pieces by her is called “Smile” (lines here).

Besides the fact that I can relate to some of her lyrics and love her singing voice, I enjoy that she mixes spoken word and rap in some of her songs. By speaking without a beat or not speaking to the beat, she turns the lyrics into spoken word.

One of the  best examples of this from Haze’s past work  is “Smiles N Hearts” (lyrics here). If you follow along with the lyrics, then you’ll eventually come to a lovely interlude with raw and beautiful imagery.

Sometimes, rap and poetry can be related because the person has done both separately. Late rapper Tupac Shakur wrote a book of poetry called The Rose That Grew From Concrete.

These poems are completely different from Shakur’s music because they are more introspective and thoughtful, especially if you know a little bit about Tupac himself.

A poem from the book, “Can You See The Pride In The Panther?” is about Shakur’s Black Panther Party roots. His mother was a member of the Black Panther Party before Shakur was born.

Besides music, the connection between rap and poetry can be found elsewhere. Recently, I had the immense pleasure of viewing the poetry film Slam.

There is a point in the film when a member of a police unit says, “That doggone rap music they got is driving em crazy.” I found it ironic because sometimes rap can be the key to survival.

A perfect example of this fact is a scene called “Serving Time” (turn your volume up). This is one of my favorite scenes from the film because it shows the contrast between the main character Raymond (the one on the left) and his cellmate on the right.

While Raymond’s verses are filled with hope, his cellmate’s verses are filled with anger. With a simple beat, poetry and rap have collided and shown two completely different mindsets.

So far, I have written four poems while listening to Angel Haze’s music, spoken word, and covers. Unlike most of the poems I have written, these have rhyme and wordplay.

Also, listening to her spoken word pieces have inspired me to record some of my poems with my laptop, a mike, and a sound recorder. While I have only done a few of them, doing this is making me more comfortable with reading my poetry aloud.

Even if you don’t enjoy rap music, you should keep an open mind, especially if you enjoy poetry. You never know what you’ll like and you’ll never know how it can impact you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Serena Zola

April 14, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Music Video Spotlight: “Battle Cry” by Angel Haze feat. Sia

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I’ve been following the work of rapper-singer Angel Haze since I checked out a few of her mixtapes in 2011. If you aren’t familiar with her, check out this Buzzfeed post I did about her using my real name.

The main thing I enjoy about the “Battle Cry” music video is that it shows how far she has come as a person.  In interviews and songs like “Cleanin Out My Closet”, she has spoken about a personal history that has included a religious “cult” and being sexually abused. Yet, this video and song shows that she has survived this and then some to become a strong person.

By giving this video an extremely personal touch, she has shown how humble she can be as a musician and a person. Before I saw this video and listened to this song many times, I worried she would pull the same superficial stunt she did for “Echelon (It’s My Way”). Instead,  she used  her personal history to create a music video that strengthens the song’s empowering message.

Written by Serena Zola

March 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Album Review: Dirty Gold (Explicit) by Angel Haze

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Dirty Gold, Angel Haze

Source: Wikipedia
Release Date: December 30th

Rapper-singer Angel Haze managed to make waves as an indie artist and YouTube poet for a few years, recording mixtapes with her own original songs and covers. Now, with the help of a major record label, her highly anticipated debut album has been released.

One of the strongest things about the album is its lyrics. Some of them are empowering anthems reminiscent of past original songs like “Sufferings First” and her cover of Mackelmore’s “Same Love”. “You gotta be the one difference in your life and turn it around” she raps in “A Tribe Called Red”. “So don’t get lost tonight, never let the ignorance cost your life” she says in the suicide prevention song “Angels and Airwaves”.

Besides empowerment, some of the songs are also confessional, introspective, and poetic. “Black Synagogue” discusses Haze’s thoughts on God, while “Black Dahlia” discusses her relationship with her mother. “April’s Fool” discusses love with beautiful spring imagery while “White Lily/White Lies” has a poignant metaphor for a young woman without self-respect.

In addition to the lyrics, the production of the album is very good. The beats are simple enough to convey a certain rhythm and tone in each song without drowning out Haze’s vocals and rapping or anyone else featured on the album.

With the exception of the tracks “Battle Cry”and “Black Synagogue”, Haze sings and raps on every track that has vocals. “Battle Cry” features vocals by Sia and “Black Synagogue” features vocals by Wynter Gordon. In addition, the track “Planes Fly” brings Haze’s sweet vocals center-stage and allows Haze to accompany herself  with rapping.

Also, a couple of songs allow Haze to speak for a few moments without a beat and bring out the YouTube poet. Finally, the R&B, rap, gospel, and pop influence on certain tracks demonstrates the diverse musical interests previously shown on Haze’s 30 Gold covers and freestyles.

The only flaws on the album are the inclusion of lines from Haze’s interviews at the beginning of certain songs and the track “Echelon (It’s My Way)” . Sometimes, the interview lines are unnecessary. Haze should let the music tell its story on its own instead of trying to explain it a little beforehand.

With “Echelon (It’s My Way)”, it seems out-of-place with the rest of the album. It is a personal celebratory anthem similar to the album’s first track “Sing About Me”, except it is more boastful. The track may be a good way to energize the crowd when performing live, but on the album it is just generic.

Overall, Dirty Gold is a great debut album that showcases Haze’s talent as a singer, rapper, and lyricist. Rap and pop fans alike will enjoy it.

Written by Serena Zola

January 4, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Angel Haze: My New P!nk?

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Warning: Some of the songs in this article contain explicit content

Until now, I thought I wasn’t a hip-hop kind of girl.  Then again, I also thought I wasn’t a pop music type until I discovered Pink’s music last year. Thanks to her, I realized that deep down there is a pop side to me in addition to the rock n’ roll side I’ve had since I was a teen. Now, I may also have a hip-hop side of me emerge.

Recently, I’ve come to respect and appreciate the music of up-and-coming female rapper Angel Haze. In late October, I heard my first Angel Haze song “Cleanin Out My Closet” and was blown away by the rawness of the lyrics even though I couldn’t relate to them. I had never seen anyone be so honest about sexual abuse in a song.

When I found out the song was from Angel Haze’s Classick Mixtape, I ended up looking up the lyrics to the songs on and listening to the ones that interested me.  While I only found one song I personally related to (“Song Cry”) and one song I liked as a person who appreciates good singing  (“Love of My Life” ), I still wanted to hear more from Angel Haze. Soon, I discovered Angel Haze’s other mixtape Reservation as well as unofficial songs via YouTube.

Some of the reasons I respect Angel Haze’s music are the same reasons why I’m a fan of P!nk. Both of these female musicians are true to themselves. They aren’t afraid to be real and vulnerable in some of their songs. In fact, the only reason I am not quite a fan of Angel Haze yet is that there is no clean version of her songs and I can’t find all of her songs’ lyrics online.

One last reason I like Angel Haze is that she seems to be full of surprises. When I did research on her, I read in a NY Times article that she  “wants to be an artist you cannot categorize at all”, that she wants to do songs in different genres. If she manages to do that, I will be one happy eclectic music listener. Another surprising thing is that she does poetry, spitting out words without a beat.

All I have left to say is that Angel Haze may be my new P!nk and she may have a new fan in the future.

Here is Angel Haze reciting an original poem, “If You’re Contemplating Suicide, This is For You”

Written by Serena Zola

November 21, 2012 at 8:23 PM

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