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Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson (born July 10, 1991) known professionally as Angel Haze, is an American rapper and singer. In 2012, Wilson released the EP Reservation and later signed a record deal with Universal Republic Records before moving to Republic Records. On December 31, 2013, Wilson released their debut album Dirty Gold, which featured the singles "Echelon (It's My Way)" and "Battle Cry.” Wilson has released a number of mixtapes, including Reservation, which was ranked the sixth-best mixtape of 2012 by Mike Diver of the BBC. Their most recent mixtape is Back to the Woods (2015).
Wilson performing in October 2012
|Birth name||Raykeea Angel Wilson|
|Born||July 10, 1991|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.|
Wilson was born in Detroit, Michigan to a military family. Their father, who died from a gunshot wound before their birth, was African American and their mother is a Native American Cherokee. When Wilson was a young child their mother met a preacher in the Greater Apostolic Faith and they moved into his home with his wife and children, into what Wilson describes as a cult. Growing up in the church, Wilson witnessed domestic violence and manipulation at a very young age. As a child, they was sexually abused by a man close to the family. Wilson also recalls being told that they would die spontaneously if they didn't behave correctly. In an interview with The Guardian, Wilson stated: "We all lived in the same community, within 10 minutes of each other. You weren't allowed to talk to anyone outside of that, you weren't allowed to wear jewelry, listen to music, to eat certain things, to date people... you weren't allowed to do pretty much anything."
Wilson's family moved around a lot, mainly due to their mother running away from the church. At one point the family was living in a shelter and they were teased at school for it. They were also mocked for their clothes and had difficulties making friends and connections due to moving around. They switched between homeschool and public school for many years and finished high school a year early.
After a pastor threatened Wilson's mother the family left the church, moving to Brooklyn, New York when they was 15 years old. The pastor told their family that God was going to kill them, and they lived in fear for years afterward.
Wilson began writing as a form of therapy and expressed an interest in creative writing, poetry and journalism. Their first poem was published at the age of 13 after winning a school competition. As a child, they took creative writing lessons and wanted to be a songwriter or gospel artist. Eventually, they began making YouTube videos and freestyle rapping at the age of 18. Wilson began distributing music on the Internet through sites like Tumblr, where a fan base began to form.
From 2009 to 2012, Wilson put out a number of mixtapes for free download on the Internet: New Moon, Altered Ego, King, and Voice. In July 2012, they released the free mixtape Reservation to critical acclaim, receiving an 88/100 score from Metacritic. The title Reservation is as an homage to their Native American heritage. Wilson was nominated for BBC the Sound of 2013 poll.
In 2012, Wilson recounted their experience of being sexually assaulted as a child in "Cleaning Out My Closet,” a song from the mixtape Classick that uses segments from Eminem's song of the same name.
On August 28, 2013, Wilson released "Echelon (It's My Way)" as the lead single from the debut album Dirty Gold. The entire album was leaked on December 18, 2013, prior to scheduled March 2014 release. The album release date was advanced, and it appeared through Island Records and Republic Records on December 30, 2013, to positive reviews. It had low first-week sales of just over 500 copies. On September 14, 2015, Wilson released the mixtape Back to the Woods announcing that the project was just "something to share before a sophomore". In March 2017 Wilson released "Resurrection".
After Wilson moved to New York and began listening to secular music, they became inspired by artists such as Eminem, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Drake and Lil Wayne. "The artists that I identify [with] mostly are the ones who are so uncompromisingly themselves," Wilson said in a 2014 Rolling Stone interview. "Like, 'Fuck you. I don't care what you think about it. This is who I am. And I can either force-feed you this shit, or you can take it as you will.'"
Wilson raps about themes such as homophobia, rape culture and racism. They use their personal experiences to condemn a culture that breeds the self-harm of queer youth. Wilson has also been open about their experience with mental illnesses such as addiction, PTSD, depression and anorexia in their music and in interviews and social media.
Wilson sees their goal as an artist to reach out to people who are similar to their or going through difficult experiences. They have said, "It's not about the Bible. It's not about going to church. It's not about anything other than that we are all energies connected with a force that's greater than us. It's an energy that's omniscient, it covers the whole world, and everybody here is created for a reason. Mine happens to be to make the music and inspire the people who are stuck in dark places."
In a 2014 Vice column, Wilson discussed cultural appropriation and white artists making hip hop. They stated, "There seems to be this hypocrisy, because people want to appropriate black culture but only when it's cool or beneficial to them... And that's the reason that people don't have a right, to some extent, to use black music to their own gains."
Wilson is pansexual and agender. They have said: "I'm glad there's an actual woman of color representing queerness and pansexuality, someone who is like me in the spotlight." In 2015, Wilson noted in an interview with BuzzFeed that "I feel like my agenderness and my gender identity have evolved, A year later, they explained, "I sound like four people when I get written about as 'they.’ It drives me crazy. If you call me 'him' or 'her' it doesn't matter to me. I don't consider myself of any sex. I consider myself an experience."
In an interview with The Guardian, Wilson stated that, "Love is boundary-less. If you can make me feel, if you can make me laugh – and that's hard – then I can be with you." In 2014, she was in a relationship with model Ireland Baldwin. The two broke up a year later.
Wilson covered Macklemore's "Same Love" and opened up about her own struggles with family over sexuality in her own interpretation of the song. In a 2017 Billboard interview she stated, "When I was young... I didn't understand what was going on. I didn't understand that I could be attracted to men and women at the same time."
In 2015, Wilson began working on a body image project titled "The Naked Eye” incorporating nude photographs and interviews of people with body dysmorphia. The project aims to create a conversation about conventional and mainstream beauty standards.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2012||MTV||Brand New For 2013||—||Nominated|
|BBC||Sound of 2013||Third|
|2013||Popdust||Next Pop Superstar of 2013||—||Nominated|
|O Music Awards||Best Web-Born Artist|
|2014||BET Awards||Best Female Hip Hop Artist|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Video with a Social Message||"Battle Cry"|
|2015||GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Music Artist||—|
- "Azealia Banks and Angel Haze trade shots on Twitter". Rap-Up.com. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- "33 Rappers Reppin' A City Where They Weren't Born". xxlmag. Dan Rys. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
- Hoby, Hermione (September 1, 2012). "Angel Haze: 'Right now, no one can beat me'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Diu, Nisha Lilia (October 13, 2013). "Interview: Angel Haze, the rapper fighting rape culture". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Tom Lamont (February 22, 2014). "Angel Haze: 'My mum knew I was going to tell everything'". The Guardian. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
- "Angel Haze Talks Universal Republic Deal, Debut Album, & Azealia Banks Collabo". Billboard. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
- "Six of the Best: Mixtapes of 2012". Music Blog. December 12, 2012.
- "Reviews for Back To The Woods by Angel Haze – Metacritic". Metacritic.
- Lamont, Tom (February 22, 2014). "Angel Haze: 'My mum knew I was going to tell everything'". the Guardian. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- Sway's Universe (December 20, 2012), Angel Haze Elaborates on Their Experience in Cult Life and Performs "New York", retrieved April 19, 2018
- "Who is Angel Haze? Their Relationship With Religion". Complex. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- Macpherson, Alex (January 31, 2013). "Rapper Angel Haze on religion, rape, and survival". The Guardian. London. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "Who is Angel Haze?Growing Up in Multiple Cities". Complex. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Who is Angel Haze?Their Obsession With Neurology and Other Interests". Complex. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Angel Haze's No-Nonsense Hip-Hop Journey". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Who is Angel Haze?Their Unique Personality". Complex. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Who is Angel Haze?Taking Rap Seriously". Complex. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Reviews for Reservation [Mixtape] by Angel Haze – Metacritic". Metacritic.
- "The Evolution Of Angel Haze". BuzzFeed. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Sound of 2013 Profiles: Angel Haze". BBC. December 9, 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- "Angel Haze Says 'F**k You' to Label, Leaks their Album". Rap-Up.
- "Reviews for Dirty Gold by Angel Haze – Metacritic". Metacritic.
- "Angel Haze Isn't Bothered By Her Low Record Sales – XXL". XXL.
- "Angel Haze's Dirty Gold sold 857 copies first week in the UK, not the Billboard 200 – FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. January 7, 2014.
- "Stream: Angel Haze's new project Back to the Woods". Consequence of Sound. September 14, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
- "Angel Haze's 'Resurrection' Video Premiere: The 'Spiritual' Rapper Talks Upcoming Album and Sampling John Mayer".
- "Angel Haze Has A Point To Prove On "Resurrection"".
- "How Angel Haze Turned Tragedy Into Triumph On Back To The Woods". The FADER. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Angel Haze's 'Resurrection' Video Premiere: The 'Spiritual' Rapper Talks Upcoming Album and Sampling John Mayer". Billboard. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Angel Haze: "It Feels Like a Punch To The Gut When Someone Takes Our Culture and Runs With It"". Noisey. January 20, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- Osorio, Kim (July 5, 2012). "Angel Haze: What This Up-And-Coming Female MC Says Will Make You Listen". The Source. New York City: The NorthStar Group.
- Keating, Shannon (March 27, 2015). "The Evolution Of Angel Haze". BuzzFeed. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
- Symonds, Alexandria (February 4, 2014). "EXCLUSIVE: Angel Haze on questioning their family, their sexuality & God". Out Magazine. San Francisco, California: Here Media. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
- Smyth, David (January 15, 2016). "Angel Haze, interview: 'At home, I'm dead. But on stage, I'm God'". Evening Standard. London, England: Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- Cavan Sieczkowski, "Angel Haze On Relationship With Ireland Baldwin: ‘We F**k And Friends Don’t F**k’," HuffPost, June 27, 2014.
- Gabrielle Korn, "did angel haze and ireland baldwin just break up?," Nylon, February 5, 2015.
- "Angel Haze Wants to Be a Hippie". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Angel Haze on "Catfish" and helping a homophobic mom love her bisexual daughter on "Truce" - AfterEllen". AfterEllen. March 11, 2015.
- "MTV's Brande New For 2013 Nominees announced". MTV. November 28, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- "BBC Sound of 2013: Angel Haze". BBC. January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- "VOTE NOW! Help Decide The Next Pop Superstar of 2013!". Archived from the original on March 3, 2015.
- "Best Web-Born Artist". Viacom. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- "Best Female Hip Hop Artist". BET.
- "2014 MTV Video Music Awards Nominations: Get The Full List". MTV. July 17, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.