Angel Haze

Androgynous, behatted and beautiful, New York rapper Angel Haze is a stylish force in the rap world

In My Beauty, fashion and culture’s most compelling faces reveal in their own words what beauty means to them

Detroit-born but now living in New York, rapper Angel Haze cuts a stylish figure – androgynous, behatted, beautiful. Since her first album, 2012’s Reservation, she’s come out as agender and pansexual, battled her demons and had a high-profile relationship. Her latest output, 13-track album Back To The Woods, expels the truth of the obstacles Haze has had to overcome, her inner struggles and the demons she’s fought. It’s this honesty that sets her apart, her sparse lyrics blasting over pared-down beats as she challenges the listener to enter her complex art and fashion-inspired world…

“With me, music is such a complex thing. I can write a song about love and have a video that is completely different because there are so many stories inside of the music.”

“Nothing frightens me except me. I feel so free. I just turned 23. I feel like with growing…if you do it the right way, you start to understand limitations as only a thing you set up in your mind. The world is vast and opportunities are endless.”

“I like art. I use Tumblr more than I use anything in the world. I’m always looking at images, whether it’s neo-expressionism, Basquiat, Salvador Dali or Frida Kahlo. I like Andy Warhol. I like Jean-Paul Goude’s photography. All of the stuff they do encapsulates the mood that I am trying to set with my music and personality.”

“Basquiat said that his favourite thing about children’s painting is that it is pure. They don’t know about form or technique – I love that. I love Salvador Dali’s colour palette – steel greys and murky blues. I try and capture that mood in my music videos. There’s a huge, childish part in all of us that we repress because in this world there are so many decisions. A kid doesn’t consider those decisions.”

It’s important to remember that what I do is more important that what I wear…even though what I wear is dope.” – Angel Haze

“I love Kendrick Lamar. He’s the shit! So seamlessly transitional. So thoughtful. It’s like, the inner struggle for people to exist at a place where they feel comfortable and confident with who they are, and know that they have a darker side that pulls them toward self-deprecation. I love that he plays on those as a male artist of colour – people don’t really consider black, male musicians to ever talk about anything other than cash and hoes.”

“My style reflects what happens in my brain. A lot of my clothes are distressed and a lot of them are black. That’s how I feel inside. Everything is torn up. I feel like I look uncomposed but actually my clothes are really expensive. It’s important to remember that what I do is more important that what I wear…even though what I wear is dope. You know when I step on stage it’s me, even if I’m wearing army boots or a Givenchy suit. My clothes match what I perform – I play and dress to what I feel.”

“I have over 100 band T-shirts. I have a lot of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley and The Smiths and Slayer and Kiss. My ex-girlfriend gave me a dope Ramones shirt that was like $600. It’s the original print. She was good for gifts! I have every single Smiths album. My favourite song is ‘Girl Afraid.’ I wouldn’t wear a band T-shirt if I didn’t support the band.”

“My hair is silky as fuck. I forget that when I take off my hat, I look like a little Indian boy. I just like wearing hats. It’s my thing. It never feels like the right time not to wear a hat. People always come up to me and ask to touch my hair – I’m like, ‘I don’t want your hands on my hair!’ I would throw a fit without my hat. Like, if I don’t have my hat I won’t feel like performing. I’ve walked off stage because I haven’t had a hat before.”