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Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson (born July 10, 1991) known professionally as Angel Haze, is an American rapper and singer. In 2012, Wilson released the EP Reservation and later signed a record deal with Universal Republic Records before moving to Republic Records. On December 31, 2013, Wilson released her debut album Dirty Gold, which featured the singles “Echelon (It’s My Way)” and “Battle Cry.” Wilson has released a number of mixtapes, including Reservation, which was ranked the sixth-best mixtape of 2012 by Mike Diver of the BBC. Their most recent mixtape is Back to the Woods (2015).

Musical career

From 2009 to 2012, Wilson put out a number of mixtapes for free download on the Internet: New Moon, Altered Ego, King, and Voice. In July 2012, they released the free mixtape Reservation to critical acclaim, receiving an 88/100 score from Metacritic. The title Reservation is as an homage to their Native American heritage. Wilson was nominated for BBC the Sound of 2013 poll.

In 2012, Wilson recounted her experience of being sexually assaulted as a child in “Cleaning Out My Closet,” a song from the mixtape Classick that uses segments from Eminem’s song of the same name.

On August 28, 2013, Wilson released “Echelon (It’s My Way)” as the lead single from the debut album Dirty Gold. The entire album was leaked on December 18, 2013, prior to scheduled March 2014 release. The album release date was advanced, and it appeared through Island Records and Republic Records on December 30, 2013, to positive reviews. It had low first-week sales of just over 500 copies. On September 14, 2015, Wilson released the mixtape Back to the Woods announcing that the project was just “something to share before a sophomore”. In March 2017 Wilson released “Resurrection”.

Artistry

Influences

After Wilson moved to New York and began listening to secular music, they became inspired by artists such as Eminem, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Drake and Lil Wayne. “The artists that I identify [with] mostly are the ones who are so uncompromisingly themselves,” Wilson said in a 2014 Rolling Stone interview. “Like, ‘Fuck you. I don’t care what you think about it. This is who I am. And I can either force-feed you this shit, or you can take it as you will.'”

Public image

Wilson raps about themes such as homophobia, rape culture and racism. They use their personal experiences to condemn a culture that breeds the self-harm of queer youth. Wilson has also been open about their experience with mental illnesses such as addiction, PTSD, depression and anorexia in their music and in interviews and social media.

Wilson sees her goal as an artist to reach out to people who are similar to her or going through difficult experiences. She has said, “It’s not about the Bible. It’s not about going to church. It’s not about anything other than that we are all energies connected with a force that’s greater than us. It’s an energy that’s omniscient, it covers the whole world, and everybody here is created for a reason. Mine happens to be to make the music and inspire the people who are stuck in dark places.”

In a 2014 Vice column, Wilson discussed cultural appropriation and white artists making hip hop. She stated, “There seems to be this hypocrisy, because people want to appropriate black culture but only when it’s cool or beneficial to them… And that’s the reason that people don’t have a right, to some extent, to use black music to their own gains.”

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