Leaked three months before the scheduled release date by Angel herself, Haze’s debut album Dirty Gold showcases her progression from small time spitting to big time hip hop tunes.
Haze created a buzz for herself from her EP Reservations, where she rapped over beats from other songs and artists. Dirty Gold marks a new aspect of self-discovery for the artist, where she’s singing of making it while trying to find her voice at the same time. Speaking about the album, Angel described how she realized that the lyrics were within the beats, and her new-found ability to make her tone perfectly compliment instruments makes that evident. Every aspect compliments the other in perfect synchronization. Where previously Angel stuck to purely rapping in a repetitive, blunt manner, she’s now softened to sweetly singing melodies and short bursts of speaking like poetic interludes between songs. A Tribe Called Red most notably marks her departure from largely repetitive rapping. Surprisingly not out of breath from the swiftness of her singing, the vocals keep up with a drum beat and mesh perfectly with a club beat, living up to the hype she’s created for herself.
In terms of continuity, the album seems somewhat scattered. This is no shocking attribute when considering that Angel is only 22 years old and only just starting to make chart topping material. She seems conflicted on this transition, and alternates between her strengths and weaknesses. In Echelon, her self-confidence is clear. She gloats about her establishing fame, singing “I don’t need friends b***h, I’m better off with money” and driving around in expensive cars. This is the single, and understandably so. If you listen to it on its own, it showcases the idea that she’s made it, and that her new-found notoriety equates to happiness. Team this with a catchy Synth beat and you’ve got a feel-good track.
These claims of self-actualization totally contradict other songs, particularly Battle Cry where vocals by Sia yell “money cannot buy all the love that’s here tonight”. Other notably deeper songs like Black Dahlia showcase a much more vulnerable side to Angel when speaking of where she’s come from instead of where she’s planning to go with her fame. Black Dahlia is written with the idea of the song being a letter to her mother when she was Angel’s age, and highlights all the things she wishes she could fix about the past. While the beat is minimal compared to catchier ones, the aggressive rapping reminiscent of her EP as well as heart wrenching lyrics like “If it meant the end of me I’d do it all for you so you could have your happy peace” marks the past haunting her present success, and rules out the overconfidence featured on other tracks.