New band of the day – Angel Haze (No 1,293)

You should see Angel Haze's YouTube trailer. It's brilliant. Sadly, it's also quite a lot better than either her rapping or her music

Hometown: Los Angeles.

The lineup: Angel Haze (vocals, raps).

The background: Do you remember when people used to talk about the sheer ingenuity and invention displayed on TV adverts, adding that they preferred them to the actual programmes? Well have a look at this 55-second trailer for today's new artist. The opening scene, coated in a tangerine murk, in which four individuals in white fog-masks and what appear to be black hoodies, anoraks or hooded sleeveless vests, stand stock still in what could be a torture chamber, or a cell, two of them wielding sticks on fire. The menacing drone of synthesisers as the camera zooms in on the character at the front, the only one of the four whose eyes you can't see. Slowly, one of the others removes the latter's mask and uncovers her head with a mixture of sensuality and implicit violence. Is she about to be ravished, or decapitated? Then the climax, in which the person, revealed to be a woman in a beanie, refocuses her bleary eyes as the music reaches a buzzing, droning peak. A name – Angel Haze – appears on the screen, as does the title of an EP – Revelation – and a release date: 17 July 2012. As you can imagine, it's astonishingly enticing. This Angel Haze, you will perhaps assume after that minute's worth of signifiers of mystery and intrigue, will be roughly like Wu Lyf and Odd Future crossing swords during the apocalypse, and that Revelation EP will, you estimate, take the hazy sonics of cloud rap to new beguilingly blurry, frazzled and fuzzy extremes.

That's what you hope, anyway. And so it was with some disappointment that we downloaded – for free, so the cost was to our morale not bank balance – Angel Haze's two mixtapes, Voice and King. They reveal that the 20-year-old, based in LA and highly touted by a source we trust, sings and raps, which is interesting if not totally unusual. Her singing voice is pleasingly indistinct, a capable R&B coo. She raps quite fast (the speed of her flow has been praised – who cares?), but it's what she raps that concerns us, or rather it's her concern that concerns us – about being a victim, about being cursed, about struggle. The language of oppression and strife. Yawn. She talks about her "past pain" and it's all a bit Badu, a bit soul-lite and poetry night at a downtown jazz bar. It's articulate enough but we were expecting Angel Haze, a bisexual Native American, to be the new abased goddess, plunging deep into the bowels of the human condition like Tyler, the Creator or Earl Sweatshirt, not skimming the surface of ghetto sorrow like a latterday Biggie/Ghostface/Nas.

That EP trailer, and attendant hype, led us to anticipate more than these sub-Minaj putdowns ("Putting heat to those bitches like I'm ironing fabric"), old-school braggadociousness like she's the slender ghost of Roxanne Shanté, this pile-up of facile observations, pseudo-poesy and doggerel. If anyone can tell us what "I'm mentally reclined in my mind" means, we'd be very grateful. So much for the content. Hopefully the context for her rhymes will be more innovative on the Revelation EP than the mixtapes' Drake, Minaj and Ellie Goulding samples. She sings and raps – but who's going to be producing? Someone who will keep her away from this mushy, mellow soulfulness, please. "My goal in hip-hop," she has said, seemingly unaware that hip-hop has just enjoyed its Greatest! Year! Ever!, "is to in some way revive its originality." Be our guest.

The buzz: "She spits rhymes like bullets, sings like an innocent, and is wise beyond her years. Meet Angel Haze, quite possibly the greatest unsigned rapper ever." – MTV.

The truth: Full marks for the trailer, fingers crossed for the new EP.

Most likely to: Work with Syd tha Kyd.

Least likely to: Work with Sid the Sexist.

What to buy: The Reservation EP is released on 17 July.

File next to: Erykah Badu, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill.


Friday's new band: Mikhael Paskalev.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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