Angel J. Nelson Introduces the World to Trap Rock While Balancing Academics and a Job

In 2023, this rising star went viral on TikTok after she dropped her single "Broke" which features southern Rap beats and catchy lyrics.

In the early 2000s, a new sound emerged from the depths of the South, like a seismic shift in the music landscape. This sound, known as Trap music, was ushered into the forefront by rappers T.I. and Jeezy. Their raw, gritty lyrics and haunting melodies captivated listeners and redefined the genre.

Years before trap music's ascent, André 3000, the enigmatic frontman of Outkast, declared at the 1995 Source Awards, "The South got something to say!" This statement resonated deeply, foreshadowing the South's pivotal role in shaping the future of Rap and Hip-Hop.

Now, as the genre continues to evolve, an up-and-coming artist from Miami, Florida, is mobilizing a fresh path. This artist, with a unique blend of introspective storytelling and rhythmic dexterity, is poised to leave an indelible mark on the genre.

By day, 22-year-old Angel J. Nelson is a hotel receptionist who is enjoying the final days of her college journey as a senior at Florida International University with a major in Communications Performance Arts. In May, she will be walking across the stage to receive her diploma.

By night, she moonlights as a multifaceted artist who's ready to take Trap and Alternative music to the next level.

Lex Merico

She concocted the idea to combine the polar opposite genres from her infatuation with the Trap movement and Alternative tunes. After that, it was all a matter of being authentic to who she is as a bonafide "Trap Enthusiast" by rapping over Alternative beats.

In 2023, Nelson went viral on TikTok when she released her song "Broke" which has the essence of Rap with major touches of Rock. It garnered 250,00 views on the app and has been liked nearly 80,000 times.

"Broke" was also co-signed by Muni Long and Doechii on the platform.

On Friday, Nelson dropped the music video for her latest single "FWM" that she declares is "10 times better."

While she is influenced by Barbz leader Nicki Minaj, her biggest inspiration comes from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

"I actually have the "Bad" logo tattooed on my arm. This means everything to me," she said. "When I heard "Dirty Diana" as a kid, that's when I knew I wanted to be a rock star. Michael Jackson really set the tone for me."

She continued, "My music is nothing like his, but just seeing a pop star, a Black man, someone in that realm doing that genre and just sliding it into his album. Ever since I saw that, He's been an obsession for me. He's a really big part of who I am as an artist." caught up with the artist on her meteoric rise on social media, what to expect from her forthcoming album, and how her faith plays a huge role in her success. Take me into your upbringing in the 305 and your first introduction to music. 

Angel J. Nelson: Music is the one career that has always just kind of been me. I remember being a kid [around] five years old and I would watch Beyoncé on TV. I'd be like, "I'm going to be just like that." I never wanted to be anything else. I didn't know what kind of artist I was going to be, but since my brain started to formulate "artist" it has always been what I ran towards. You’ve meshed Trap and Rock. What is it about each of those genres that speak to you, and how did you come up with the idea to marry the two?

Angel J. Nelson: Growing up in Miami, Trap music is number one. We have Trina, Trick Daddy, and the City Girls. Trap music took over our city so it's something that I'm very familiar with. It's always been [in] my life from going to house parties and block parties. I've always been a little weird, nerdy Black girl. I used to love the Alternative stuff like the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and Paramore. I'm like, "I like Trina, but I also like Paramore. How can I make one for myself?" I thought it would be fun and something that isn't normally pushed in our community. I want to show that within my music we love to Rock, we love to Trap, and they can coexist together. Do others in your friend group listen to Rock music as much as you?

Angel J. Nelson: I'm definitely the rocker of the group. When we're driving, I'll play my playlists and they're like, "What is this?", but then they'll slick ask me for the name of the song later. 2023 was an amazing year for you! You debuted “Broke” which gained a lot of attention on TikTok. What was that moment like for you?

Angel J. Nelson: It was very, very intense. It just happened out of nowhere, to be honest. I remember the day that it happened. I was at work. And my mom texted me and she was like, "Do you see your TikTok?" I was said, "No, I'm at work." I went to the bathroom and I checked, and it was blowing up and I was so confused. I was like "What is happening?" It was on Twitter and then it was on Instagram. It was just all over the place. I was just confused [while] praising the Lord. I was like, "Thank you Jesus!" How do you balance your academics and your music career?

Angel J. Nelson: It's a lot to handle, but I don't feel pressured because I have an amazing support system. My mom is my rock. She's my hairstylist and she does the BTS for me. She supports me through and through. The dream that I have is to be a rock star. The dream that my mom has is to see me be a rock star who has a degree so that's the deal that we had. TikTok is currently in the hands of the United States Senate. As its future looms, what are your thoughts about a possible ban on the platform?

Angel J. Nelson: I hope that whatever happens, TikTok stays around because it's a great blessing for a lot of independent artists that don't have the big machinery push. It's changed a lot of lives for people and it would be unfair to take that away. But all I can say is what God has for you, no man can take. Even if TikTok disappears, I'm still going to be good. Last year, you also racked up over 150,000 streams on Spotify and had 37,000 listeners in 138 countries. What comes to mind when you hear those stats?

Angel J. Nelson: I've been creating music for about three years now and last year was the first year where I felt like people were finally seeing who I am as an artist. I'm still not there yet, but to see the door being cracked open for me shows how much God can do in such a small amount of time. And I know that if He can do that, He can do greater things. Your latest track “FWM” has also secured a lot of attention. Take me into the making of the song, and the music video.

Angel J. Nelson: I had a lot of fun making that song. When I was in the studio with my engineer (my brother), he was like, "Girl, you gotta do something that's better than "Broke."' This song is more fun. I was just being goofy, screaming, and doing everything that I normally do when I'm not on camera.

The music video was actually shot last minute by my good friend Yomaira Silva on South Beach. It was crowded with a bunch of people while everybody was looking at us, but we had a lot of fun.

I think if you guys like "Broke" this video is going to be 10 times better. While you are seeing success on the Alternative scene, it’s still heavily dominated by non-Black artists. What has your journey been like as you navigate this genre?

Angel J. Nelson: It's been pretty good. And actually, I have a lot of support from the Black community. I feel like a lot of people have this preconceived notion that Rock music is far away from the Black community, but it all comes from us. If you see how much people gravitate to the music, it just goes to show that we like everything, and we love everything. So I'm not too worried about who's dominating what because where I stand no one can stand in front of me.

I get a lot of messages from older people who say they wish they had an artist like me when they were growing up. I think that's just so sweet because I always tell them, "You have me now." I think a lot of people need that mixture and I'm excited to be the one to give it to them. Recently, Beyoncé took on the Country genre and featured multiple rising Black Country singers. Does that encourage you about the future of Rock music?

Angel J. Nelson: There are rumors that the next Act is Rock Beyoncé. It would definitely cause the biggest shift and it would put a spotlight on people like me who are delving into this genre because a lot of people don't want to look our way because of our skin color and because of what they feel is right. Are there any Black artists or producers you’d love to collaborate with?

Angel J. Nelson: My dream collab is definitely Nikki [Minaj]. I also really want to work with JT. She's from Miami, just like me [and] she's an alternative Black girl. She's running the scene right now and I really think our styles would mesh well together. What can fans expect from you next?

Angel J. Nelson: My EP is coming out very soon. I got a couple more singles to roll out, but I am working on it. I have some really special songs on there that I think everyone will absolutely love. It's very diverse and very Alternative. One thing about me is that I do Trap Rock, but I'm a very Alternative artist. When people think of the word Alternative, I know where their mind goes. But to me, alternative just means doing something different, not like a specific sound. And that's what I'm doing on this EP. It's not just Trap Rock stuff. I got some real, straight-rock stuff on there. Then I got some fun bangers. I think it's something that people will definitely enjoy. Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future? Where do see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

Angel J. Nelson: I definitely see myself in a larger element. My goal is to be an inspiration for other people like me. I want to be able to open doors for people like me and I really just want to dominate the Alternative Trap/Rock scene. I have all the tools to do it. I have all the great mentors. I'm inspired by the right people. So I definitely believe that God will take me there.

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