20-year-old feMC Angel Haze is the latest in a line of internet-bred lady rappers adept at selfies and self-promo. Haze got her start writing poems (she cites e. e. cummings as a favorite) before releasing freestyles on YouTube, polishing her rapid-fire release over beats like Lil Wayne’s “6 Foot 7 Foot.” Haze has already been on a Das Racist remix (“Jungle Fever”), and “New York” serves as a promising taste of things to come.
“New York” builds on the handclap beat of Gil Scott-Heron’s “New York Is Killing Me,” retaining much of the original. The bass drum has been amped up but keeps Scott-Heron’s echoing moans as punctuation, to create a beat Timbaland would be proud of. Haze is as at home referencing crusades and requiems as she is spitting hip-hop’s usual threats and brags, challenging categorization with “I am whatever they say I am.” She readily compares herself to Nas, Lil’ Kim and Cassie, and if her syrupy half-chorus and vicious flow is anything to go by, she might just be right. Azealia Banks, watch your back.
Angel Haze’s new EP, Reservation, is out July 17 on True Panther/Noizy Cricket/Biz 3 Records.