Listening to Angel Haze's debut album often feels like sitting in on a therapy session with the 22-year-old rapper. Each account of her upbringing, romantic relationships and religious views is full of personal details and a hard-won wisdom that she delivers with unwavering confidence and cathartic fervour.
The New York City-based MC has made a name with searing freestyles about sexual abuse and her mother's disapproval of her pansexuality - a subject she revisits in Black Dahlia. Hers is a voice atypical in the American mainstream, so it's disappointing that she relies on self-help clichés (unnecessarily reiterated in spoken-word interludes) and clean-cut pop production.
Haze's rapid, self-excoriating rhymes have drawn comparisons to Eminem, but her flows and punchlines, though potent, aren't inventive enough to overcome the album's bland commercialism. Perhaps by co-opting the by-the-book pop-rock sound - Bruno Marsesque hooks, reverby percussion and alt-rock riffs - Haze is positioning herself as a top 40 infiltrator, which is fine, but she's also diluted her uniqueness.
Top track: A Tribe Called Red