Angel Haze, Azealia Banks Fed Up With an Industry That Preys on Black Talent

They're speaking out because they know you're listening.

By Jamilah King Feb 05, 2014

Angel Haze did an interview with Hypetrak recently where she talked about everything from her childhood to her admiration for Kendrick Lamar’s performance at the Grammy’s. She also opened up a bit about why she thinks there are so many female rappers in hip-hop right now:

It’s really crazy, it’s shifting, it’s like some weird cosmic shi*t is happening where there’s more female rappers than there have been in previous years, and it’s all about having [the scene] expand so far that more girls now realize you can do it all at one time without being the same as one another. Like there’s nothing remotely similar between me, Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj – I’m on one side, Iggy’s on another, Nicki’s on another – it’s just crazy and there’s so much variety.

But while there’s plenty of variety, power in the industry hasn’t changed all that much. 

Last December, when Haze talked publicly about leaking her album four months ahead of schedule, she said that she was frustrated with her label, which she accused of sitting on the project for too long. "If the main source of your happiness becomes the sole source of your stress, then something needs to fucking change."

Azaelia Banks pointed that out last week on Twitter when she called out the structural inequity that’s at the heart of her repeated album delays. The Harlem rapper begged to be dropped from her label, Universal, and then wrote on Twitter: "I’m tired of having to consult a group of old white guys about my black girl craft. They don’t even know what they’re listening for or to."

Though Haze and Banks have had their own personal and creative beefs, they’re saying the same thing: there’s an abundance of talent that’s running up against the same old structural barriers. They’re speaking out because they know you’re listening.