By Kyle Anderson
October 24, 2012 at 09:42 PM EDT
Adrienne Nicole
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“This might get a little personal—or a lot, actually.”

Rising rapper Angel Haze’s warning at the top of her new mixtape track “Cleaning Out My Closet,” which premiered yesterday, shouldn’t be taken lightly. The 21-year-old Brooklyn-based Detroit native borrows the beat from the Eminem track of the same name to lay out a graphic, shocking account of a lifetime of sexual abuse. It will be appearing on her forthcoming giveaway Classick, which will be unleashed on the Internet on Thursday.

Though she doesn’t name names, Haze lays out a harrowing, damning narrative about being raped at 10 years old, setting up a pattern of abuse that haunted her throughout her next decade. It’s a pretty intense listen, but it’s also one of the most bracing, intense, personal, and hard-hitting rap songs you’ll hear all year. Hear it below:

In the end, Haze has the last laugh, rapping about her rapidly growing profile and escalating level of success.( She signed a deal with Universal Republic after only a handful of her homegrown tracks scored major critical praise on the mixtape circuit last summer, she just performed two well-received shows during last week’s CMJ Music Marathon, and both of her previous releases, Reservation and The Voice EP, have been met with positive reviews and more professional respect.)

But “Cleaning Out My Closet” is the sound of a young artist throwing down the gauntlet, letting the world know that she’s ready to reach into dark places beyond the champagne-and-Louis tropes of popular hip-hop. This is the sort of naked autobiography that elevates great MCs—in fact, it’s an approach that recalls Eminem, who eventually found his voice putting aside his early goofballery to settle into the maze-like trips through his fractured psyche and dark past.

We’re not saying it’s a comfortable listen, but it absolutely does feel like an important one. Readers, what do you think?


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