“Can I have the burger you got me last night? I will pay for it, but I´d really like to get that one,“ asked Angel Haze after the interview, when the organizers started planning a dinner before the show. She went sightseeing in Prague earlier, but now she is chilling backstage with her manager, couple friends and a lot of weed smoke. She probably spent like that most nights of her tour that brought her to different country almost every day.
RG: How did you like the tour?
AH: It was beyond amazing, honestly, nothing I expected. It´s kinda like playing a game of Street Fighter. You only get a certain amount of time to kick their asses. It´s mortal combat. Going out there every night and conquering different city with different energy every night was so much fun. Cause you don´t know all those kids in the crowd and they feel the same shit that you do.
RG: You spent almost every day in different country. Was it exhausting?
AH: Sometimes. That´s when I become like a monster. Yeah, then you don´t wanna be around me.
RG: What audience was the best?
AH: It’s kinda like a toss up between Berlin and Vienna. London went off, Sweden went off. Gotheburg! I didn´t expect that. I think all of them were spectacular. I can tell you what I hated though. Italy. It was fucking weird time. No, I’m just kidding, I loved italy.
RG: OK, I’m just gonna write that you hated Italy.
AH: Nice, thank you! Look at that, I ain’t talking no more! (laughing) No, it´s been incomparable, because every day felt so different. I’m just happy right now.
RG: You started rapping when you were quite young, when did you start feeling the success?
AH: When I was young, I was just like whatever. When I got into the rap game, everyone was like ‘hey, you kinda look like Aaliyah’ and they put me in a halter top and mad make-up and I didn’t know who I was anymore. That´s when I noticed the success. And I was like so I’m definitely not her, but I get it. I can distinguish the boundaries very well.
RG: How do you perceive gender categorization in rap game? What about women being called female rappers instead of just rappers?
AH: Yeah, you never hear a man be called a male rapper. I think it’s weird. That shit is annoying. But I don’t even read shit about myself. Nine out of ten times I’m gonna find something and like hate myself for it, so I don’t even know what people are saying in regards to me. I can’t explain myself to anyone, cause people don’t understand. If you think of gender and if that’s something that’s major to you then you don’t understand human life as an experience and then you can’t understand me, so there is no point in us talking. So I’m not interested in even considering the opinion of people who aren’t open minded. It’s gotta be big.
RG: Tell us about your experience in XXL Magazine Freshman Class. How was it?
AH: I don’t know actually. I didn’t have much to do with it except for taking the picture. Everything else I kinda opted out of not because of anything personal, but XXL is a crazy platform. Like I didn’t even realize that I could actually be on the cover until I was shooting the shit. And then I’m surrounded by people who are now my peers. ScHoolboy Q, Joey Badass, Logic… And I’m meeting these guys for the first time and seeing them do their thing. We shot all these freestyle videos and like Trinidad James was there. Oh, he was awful. Seriously. It was like slow suicide. But the whole experience overall was tight. Action Bronson was tight.
RG: How did it influence your position and your view of hip hop scene?
All the people that were there on the shooting, I got to see all these different personalities and I think that helped me understand rap isn’t one dimensional and two. Going forward I could be the person I am, because there was no one like me in that room, you know what I mean, or on that cover. As far as helped me [being in XXL Freshman class], obviously, people think I’m a great rapper because of that and you get voted onto that shit and I thought that was nice of the world to say I was good enough to be a freshman. I’m like a junior now? I´m old.
RG: Do you watch the Freshman Class every year? How do you feel when there are no women making the list?
AH: I’m curious about the general state of hip hop in regards to women. Because there is a real sexist culture about it that allows only one woman to thrive at a time, so when you think about doing things like that, varietizing lists and shit like that you can’t really think of any key women rappers to go to, because there are none being force fed down your throat like there are men rappers being force fed down the throat. So it’s difficult to kinda like navigate that, in a way that who get’s it that hasn’t already have it? I can’t get the XXL again, Dej Loaf can’t get the XXL again, Iggy can’t get it again. Azealia probably can, but they wouldn’t ever. So it’s just a thing, you know what I mean. So these are the four maybe five rappers you know that are female and then where are the rest of them? You know what I mean? But you can name 20 male rappers off the top of your head right now. And that’s not fair. That’s the thing that says one representation is more important. Especially for women, when you have more girls buying CDs from male rappers than they buy from the female artists, then you have a problem. They’re being horribly informed. So I think there is a lot of things that you have to like dismantle with the system. And most people aren’t ready for that.
RG: Do you think there is a lack of unity between women rappers?
AH: Like fighting or feuds? That´s culture again. It’s going. It’s the crabs in a bucket mentality that (only) one can survive. Everybody sees everybody as a threat, but in reality, everybody is an individual asset. And if women rappers came together building a company it would be huge u know? It would be fucking ridiculous, cause boys are dumb, let’s just put it there, it’s a different… (pointing finger at her male friends ) Look at these guys shaking their heads. Dumb! Everybody agrees, we all agree boys are dumb.
One of the friends: You’re mad and sexist.
AH: You call me mad? I’m gonna stab you in a neck!
AH: So you see what we gotta go through? This is a fight every day. This is not between us but I’m saying like this is a real world thing. Fortunately enough, he’s smarter than that like actually. But what I mean when I say is men are dumb is that women are far more diverse. When you think about male rappers and the things they talk about, there is a short range of things. If you think about women who are the nurturers, the growers, the givers to the world there is far more things but they are seen as too feminine or too centric for people to talk about or care about or even speak on vocally. There is not a lot of opportunity for women and when there is, you feel like you kinda have to charge and keep charging, because you want that recognition and because only one gets it for such a short amount of time and then it´s on to the next one you know. I wish hip hop, rap, for women was like RnB for women. That would be tight. Cause then there’d be a billion rappers you can name off the top of your head. But that´s up to us too.
RG: What about women rappers who (in their own videos) look like they are objects from male rappers´ visuals?
AH: You mean hypersexualization and stuff like that? I think that’s also a choice. Especially under the guise of feminism women should be allowed to explore all facets of who they are, whether they are hypersexual beings—if she feels comfortable enough to market herself in that way or to present herself in a bustier or whatever the fuck, you kinda gotta let her, cause at that point, that’s who she is or what she wants. But I think that diversity is important because you don’t see all women that way and that’s a problem that most women have when it comes to hypersexualization in media in mainstream culture. It’s that you get to see it once. But you don’t get to see that there are girls who are like me, girls who are like you, girls who are like this one over here and there are so many different ones. But you only get to see one version, so you feel angry because that’s what people think you are.
RG: How to change it?
AH: Like I said, it starts with consumerism even. If you don’t think it´s real, don’t buy it. That way it doesn’t sell and that way you can choose who comes in front of you, who you seeing, who you make popular and shit like that and that’s how the world changes. But people, like I said, aren’t ready for that. Angel Haze for President.