There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Detroit-born rapper and singer Angel Haze has experienced a lot of trauma in 23 years of life. Raised in the constricting community of the Greater Apostolic Faith, everything from the music Haze listened to, to the clothes they wore and the food they ate was controlled by others. Beginning at age 7, Haze (who identifies as agender and uses plural pronouns) was repeatedly raped, an experience chronicled in their breakout 2012 single “Cleaning Out My Closet,” which borrows beats from the Eminem song of the same name. In the two years since the release of their debut album Dirty Gold, Haze continued to struggle, breaking off a high-profile relationship with model Ireland Baldwin and twice being committed to psychiatric wards, but the pain has provided inspiration for a new album, the self-released Back to the Woods. The project’s title refers to the forested area near the Springfield home that was Haze’s refuge during their teenage years. Its stark lyrics reflect the confessional rapper’s post-breakup love troubles as well longstanding ones with family members. On “Dark Places,” Haze adeptly alternates between rapid, snarled patter and mournful Sia-like sung verses over synth washes from album producer Tk Kayembe. What could have been uncomfortable, Haze turns into something empowering. Angel Haze performs at 9 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $15. (202) 388-7625. rockandrollhoteldc.com.