In an ongoing effort to better understand the musical influences behind new music, we’re asking artists to tell us about their be-all-end-all essential albums of all time ever forever. This week we spoke with one of the year's most celebrated emerging emcees, Angel Haze.
Lykke Li – Youth Novels (2008)
Lykke Li’s an incredible talent, she has such a foreign, different sound and incredible vocals. The whole Youth Novels album, to me, was amazing. I actually first heard Lykke Li when I was listening to that Drake song. After that I totally did so much research on her and I was so deeply into it, like “Possibility,” and “This Trumpet In My Head,” and “Time Flies,”... It was amazing to me because sonically, it’s so different.
I didn’t grow up listening to rap or listening to any sort of music… What I found I connected with was people who were expressive of anything — from anger to pain to love to whatever. You can really gravitate towards any artist from any genre if they have something to say and you’re willing to listen. Hip hop has become kind of redundant, it’s like all the same things being said over and over and over again, and you kinda look outside of that and find what you want to hear in different genres.
Listen: "My Love"
Jason Mraz – Waiting for My Rocket to Come (2002)
It was the first album I’d ever heard from him and it was super cool and super expressive. He actually kind of inspires me in a way... I think that’s the one with “Remedy” on it and if it’s the one with “Remedy” on it, [I remember being] like freakin’ maybe 12 in a room listening to the song on VH1’s Insomniac video block that they used to have and it was one of my favourite songs ever.
Listen/Watch: “The Remedy”
Raúl Midón – State of Mind (2005)
I actually learned of Raul Midón by listening to him and Jason Mraz, they did a song together and he was good on it, so I started researching his music. He has this one really particular song called “If You’re Gonna Leave,” and it became the soundtrack of 2010 for me. He’s actually really really good. He’s a Hispanic, sort of acoustic oriented type of performer. But he’s really good.
Listen: “If You’re Gonna Leave”
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
He’s so fresh and uncensored and just out there and, in certain ways, I’m the same way. I guess you could say that if it weren’t for artists like Eminem, I don’t think people would feel like they could be that way publicly and still be looked at as a public figure or a role model or whatever. He just did really whatever the fuck he wanted to and I kind of idolize that man.
Listen: Full album
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
Just classic; I don’t even know anything else to say about that.
Listen: Full Album