Showing posts with label angel haze. Show all posts
Showing posts with label angel haze. Show all posts

Sunday, January 5, 2014

video review: 'dirty gold' by angel haze

Huh, I should have put this up days ago. MAGFest sort of got in the way of that, but that's to be expected, I think.

Next up will probably be (sigh) Asher Roth. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

album review: 'dirty gold' by angel haze

Let's talk a bit about record labels.

It tends to be a well-known fact that the music industry has taken several body blows with the rise of digital distribution, streaming, and iTunes, with major record labels taking the majority of the heavy hits (no matter how much they like to blame it on piracy or artists behaving badly). And thanks to the connotations in popular culture associated with record labels thanks to endless negative portrayals in music, television, movies, etc., most people don't have the slightest degree of sympathy and would be happy to see them abolished entirely.

Now, I don't really share this opinion - in fact, I'd argue record labels play two important roles in the music 'process' that is often overlooked. For one, they handle a lot of the 'business' side of the industry in terms of promotion, production, and distribution, leaving the artists to be concerned about the art - like it or not, most artists aren't Jay-Z and don't have the business sense to handle this effective. And for another, record labels often act as an editorial board, something that artists might not like but is an essential part of the process. Speaking as a published author, it's always irksome to go through editing and criticism, but my work is often better for it and it's a constant acknowledgement that I'm far from perfect. Or let's put this another way - while I'm all for preserving the purity of artistic digressions, people have to eat, and session musicians, producers, managers, and the rest of the personnel involved in the creation of an album have to get paid - if the album doesn't sell well, that doesn't always happen.

So yeah, record labels have a purpose - the issue becomes how those labels are run. Thanks to the CD bloat of the late 90s, many major labels experienced obscene growth thanks to shady business practices, chart manipulation, and executive meddling in album releases - and that boom was unsustainable. But while the labels' relevance have waned, their attitudes haven't changed - and for once, artists aren't taking it lying down anymore. Macklemore wrote several songs about industry politics and ended up being the biggest charting success this year off of his own independent label, and I did a special comment discussing RCA and Kemosabe's disastrous business decisions in cancelling the Ke$ha and Flaming Lips collaboration Lip$ha in order to try to rein their rebellious artist in (and man, that's backfired big time - have you all seen the 'Dirty Love' video yet?). So I wasn't entirely surprised when upcoming hip-hop artist Angel Haze threw her label obligations to the wind and leaked her entire debut album in frustration. The story goes that the label said they would release the album if Angel Haze had finished it during the summer - but when the label went back on their word and scheduled the release for early 2014 (after Angel Haze finished the album in June of last year), she leaked the album. On the one hand, applause for being gutsy and following through on the bluff, but on the other hand, she basically guaranteed that outside of her fanbase, she's not going to be getting the same degree of promotion from the label, to say nothing of critical attention because nobody covers albums released in mid-to-late December by people not named Beyonce. But let's put the politics aside: how's the album?