Oct 22, 2013

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Angel Haze Does ‘Same Love’ Justice

For most of the summer, I resisted the pull of Macklemore; partly it’s because I suffer from debilitating hype aversion, and partly it’s because at the time I was exploring queer and underground rap for the first time and was far more impressed with the socially conscious rappers who were taking the medium and returning it to its culturally critical roots. I was even enjoying Eminem–like, old school Eminem–for the first time ever, able to appreciate his flow and lyrical talent and weird twisted shades of sex positivity. I mean, it was cis, hetero, probably white-centered sex positivity wrapped in layers of Slim Shady insanity, but, y’know, the guy called people on their shit.

But I digress; we’re talking about Macklemore and his album The Heist. One day I relented, and posted the following to Facebook:

Outside of the runaway hit “Thrift Shop,” the standout track on The Heist is the heartfelt track ‘Same Love,’ a pro-gay rights anthem that tries to address the very real issues of homophobia and sexism in the hip-hop industry and elsewhere. Macklemore went on to perform the song at the VMAs and win an MTV Video Award for “Best Video With a Social Message”–apparently those exist, who knew?–and as people piled on the praise, many members of the LGBTQ community and their allies ended up feeling that their experiences were only coming into the limelight when voiced by a white, cis, heterosexual man. Again.

Enter Angel Haze, an underground rapper from Detroit who’s quickly climbing the charts as one of the most talented female rappers of the 21st century. She’s already known for her mercilessly clever flow and devastatingly powerful songs–her cover of Eminem’s ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’ is absolutely harrowing. She’s got a cover of Lupe Fiasco’s ‘Bitch Bad’ that, rightfully, tells the story from a female perspective. And today she released a freestyle over Same Love’s instrumentals. And it’s fucking incredible.

Haze, who describes herself as pansexual, has claimed the track for her own and shown Macklemore, and the rest of us, the true power of a pro-gay rap song. Not only does Haze speak from her own point of view, but she also pays homage to queer poet Andrea Gibson’s poem ‘Andrew’, and the result is chilling and beautiful and absolutely nails what Macklemore was trying to accomplish. Go listen to it, and then listen to more of Angel Haze in general, because she’s hands down some of the most promising talent in the rap scene right now.

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