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SXSW: Rising rapper Angel Haze gets personal

“Some of you might not know who I am,” admitted Angel Haze on Friday night, as she performed in the Pandora Porch parking lot at SXSW. “But this is a night of f–ing dreams for me.”

Just a few years ago, it would’ve been hard to imagine Haze here. Born in Michigan, the 21-year-old rapper grew up in the Greater Apostolic Faith, which she once compared to living in a cult. Struggling within the church, she found the only way to cure her depression was to write.

“I wrote a freaking suicide letter, and it was kind of amazing to me,” she recently told the Fader. “I had to mature much earlier than everyone else.” When Haze was 16, a pastor threatened her mother, and they broke from the church. The next years were rough. She dropped out of school. She was homeless for a while.

But then Haze started making mixtapes and posting them online, and after a handful of her homegrown tracks earned critical praise, she signed with Universal Republic. Then last fall, a breakthrough moment arrived: Haze recast Eminem’s “Cleaning Out My Closet,” reworking it as a stunningly personal tale of lifelong sexual abuse that started when she was raped at age 10. READ FULL STORY

Angel Haze spins graphic narrative of sexual abuse on 'Cleaning Out My Closet'

“This might get a little personal—or a lot, actually.”

Rising rapper Angel Haze’s warning at the top of her new mixtape track “Cleaning Out My Closet,” which premiered yesterday, shouldn’t be taken lightly. The 21-year-old Brooklyn-based Detroit native borrows the beat from the Eminem track of the same name to lay out a graphic, shocking account of a lifetime of sexual abuse. It will be appearing on her forthcoming giveaway Classick, which will be unleashed on the Internet on Thursday.

Though she doesn’t name names, Haze lays out a harrowing, damning narrative about being raped at 10 years old, setting up a pattern of abuse that haunted her throughout her next decade. It’s a pretty intense listen, but it’s also one of the most bracing, intense, personal, and hard-hitting rap songs you’ll hear all year. Hear it below: READ FULL STORY

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