Today in Hip Hop History: December 30, 2013
Raae’n Roes Wilson, also known as Angel Haze, released her major label debut album, Dirty Gold, through Island and Republic Records in 2013. The album signified the first time the 21 year old female hip hop artist had released a physical project, as it was preceded by several digitally released projects and mixtapes. The 12 song album is also supplemented with a 16 track deluxe version.
Dirty Gold contains production from Dravs, A Tribe Called Red, Gosling, Malay, Kurstin and more. The production has an electronic/pop Top 40 feel to it that complements Angel’s rhymes in a unique but satisfactory manner. The album features outside vocals solely from singer Sia on the track “Battle Cry,” which was the album’s second single released.
The album was originally set for a release in 2013, as the record label stated that if she finished her recordings before the summer, then they would release it later in the year. However, executives at the record label elected to push her album back to a March 2014 release, which angered Angel. In December of 2013, she leaked her own album in its entirety on to her SoundCloud page and tweeted her distaste with the label, forcing them to make a decision. After the label removed the songs from the internet, they agreed to release the album digitally before the end of the year.
Dirty Gold represents a winning situation for an artist being able to overcome the powers that be under a major record label. Although Angel’s decision seems drastic, simply put, it worked. She enforced the promise that the label had made to her before recording the album, and for that, Angel emerges as a strong and respectable character.
As for the album itself, Dirty Gold received generally positive critical review despite underwhelming commercial numbers. This most likely occurred due to the release confusion and leak, but Angel has expressed a certain apathy towards the sales.