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Music Review

Angel Haze's Dirty Gold review: 'Polished rap-pop with bite'

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Released on Monday, Dec 30 2013

Angel Haze 'Dirty Gold' artwork
"Sorry to Island/Republic Records, but f**k you," Angel Haze tweeted moments before leaking her debut album online earlier this week, adding: "I got here doing this for my fans and if you guys don't feel the same, it won't stop me." There aren't many artists who can take on a major record label and win, and while the record was pulled from the web moments later, she got her way after the LP's release date was brought forward to this side of 2013, as she'd originally promised.

That said, upon listening to her long-awaited debut Dirty Gold, Raykeea Angel Wilson strikes as a person who has little patience for pleasantries or work politics. "You've gotta make the decision to be the one difference in your life and turn it around," she spits in her distinctive, growly tone on 'A Tribe Called Red'; an aggressive warning to her peers that she's not one to be messed with. She's far from a nasty character though; her ferocity is in fact rooted in a staunch abiding to her moral compass.

What's most surprising about Dirty Gold is just how polished it is when compared against the rawness of her earlier mixtapes; but scratch beneath the glossy production - courtesy of Mike Dean (Kanye West), Greg Kurstin (Katy Perry), Malay (Frank Ocean) and Rudimental - and there's still plenty of bite and a strong sense of determination throughout.

As well as her obsession with doomed love on 'Deep Sea Diver' and 'April's Fool', both of which are wrapped in eerie electronics and opaque lyrics, there are also hints at her religious upbringing and troubled childhood. "I'm not that trusting" she explains on the confessional 'Black Synagogue' over stabbing synths, while on the intro of 'Angels & Airwaves' she bills the song as one for those contemplating suicide; admitting she once came dangerously close herself.

She doesn't dwell on the past for long though, poking fun at the fashion circuit - or "trashy bitches in classy clothes" - on the playful 'Echelon (It's My Way)', while 'Sing About Me' is armed with a dangerously addictive chorus that nods to her Twitter spat with Azealia Banks earlier this year as well as her desire to inspire others. Elsewhere, 'Planes Fly' and Sia collaboration 'Battle Cry' are both soaring and stadium-sized rap ballads that are not only completely unexpected, but suggest Angel Haze has her sights set on the big time. Fortunately, Dirty Gold is more than equipped for such a task.



Watch the 'Echelon (It's My Way)' music video below:

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