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Listen to Angel Haze's Powerful New Track, " Cleaning Out My Closet"

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Screen shot 2012-10-23 at 5.13.20 PM.pngIn only four and a half minutes and and over an Eminem beat, rapper Angel Haze shares a story that's deeply personal, deeply painful and deeply brave. The track, "Cleaning Out My Closet," details the young artist's experiences being sexually abused, starting when she was only seven years old. The song is graphic, raw and does not gloss over what happened to her: "See I was young, man / I was just a toddler, a kid / And he wasn't the first to successfully try what he did," she rhymes. "It was weird because I felt like I was losing my mind / And then it happened like it happened like millions of times / And I would swear that I would tell but they would think I was lying." As others have noted, one of the (many) striking things about the song is the insight Haze has into the abuse and her own reaction to it.  "Psychologically, I was just as fucked as they come / I was confused, I had to prove I wasn't fucked from the jump / I was afraid of myself, I had no love for myself," she describes. "I didn't want to be attractive to nobody else." These words would have strength in any setting but they're all the more powerful considering that Haze's medium is hip-hop, a genre frequently criticized for glorifying misogynistic and homophobic lyrics. But that may all be changing -- and not without thanks to rappers like Haze and a slew of other pioneering female and queer MCs.

And, though their subject material may be vastly different, we're also reminded of Frank Ocean's recent letter opening up about his sexuality, which, along with "Cleaning Out My Closet," may prove that there's room in hip-hop (and R&B) for artists who are unafraid to expose themselves, and who are complex, unapologetic and vulnerable. It's a combination that, much like Haze's song, feels simultaneously refreshing, original and authentic. Please listen to "Cleaning Out My Closet" below.




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