“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 »