Angel Haze is super-young, but as a statement of intent at the start of a new rap career, you could do plenty worse than this track, “New York,” off her new album Reservation. You can draw your own comparisons to other rappers if you want — I hear a tiny, tiny bit of M.I.A. in there, but she likens herself to Nas and Lil’ Kim on this song, and if you poke around the internet a little you’ll see more than a few critics going so far as to name-check the Notorious B.I.G. (They’re talking about the style and the talent, not the voice, obviously.) Seems likely she’s got her own unique stories to bring to hip-hop though — read this intriguing profile by The Fader for some background.
Personally, I like the confidence. I like that she’s barely 21, she’s from Virginia, and she’s coming out rapping “I run New York.” I don’t care if you’re Jay-Z or if you’re me, when you say “I run New York,” you’re mainly running motivational incantations on yourself, and if you’re a musician, you’re offering that same boost to everyone who listens and nods and rhymes along. It’s a good thing. The fact that this melody and beat are taken from a Gil Scott-Heron song “New York Is Killing Me” (ironically, a very different sentiment than “I run New York”) only suggests that Angel has cooler taste than most up-and-comers.
“Hot Like Fire” is arguably even catchier and definitely more radio-friendly:
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