“I want people to know there are new ways to love and be loved out here,” Angel Davanport says of her choice to sing about topics others may shy away from, such as her own pansexuality. A relatively recent addition to the Minneapolis music scene, Davanport isn’t interested in hiding any aspect of herself. While some may know her from her feature as Angelenah on P.O.S’s track “Gravedigger,” you can expect to learn a whole lot more about her in the future.
Davanport first gained renown as a member of Chicago group the RapperChicks. Tired of working in a music scene where women weren’t getting the press they deserved, she resolved, “It was necessary to make something that was for us. That could hold us down. That could uplift us.” Getting together with fellow rappers Henny, Psalm One (formerly signed to the Rhymesayers record label), and Ill-esha, the four branded themselves as the RapperChicks. They leaned into their identities as cocky women – as Davanport put it, “Yeah, we’re rapper chicks, but we’ll eat you up on your own track. Let’s see you compete.”
After finding some success in Chicago, the RapperChicks were stricken by tragedy when Henny passed in March of 2018. Following her passing, Davanport was “kind of a wreck” and had a hard time healing. That’s when her friend P.O.S invited her to Minneapolis. Though initially resistant to the idea, she decided to give it a shot in May 2018. According to Davanport, Minneapolis has been very welcoming and is already starting to feel like home; upon arrival in the city, she says, “[my] blessings opened up tenfold.”
Just enough time had passed for Davanport to establish herself in Minneapolis before it came time to hit the road. After P.O.S and Astronautalis released 6666 as Four Fists, they invited Davanport to open for them on the road. The tour, one month and 26 shows long, was Davanport’s first as a solo artist, and she says she looks forward to many more.
Having spent much of her career thus far collaborating with other artists, either as a crew member or feature, Davanport is going to take some time to focus on what she can do on her own. Showcasing her talents, she released Sore, But Grateful, a three-song EP, just ahead of the tour. Though it is a brief listen, the rapper says it embodies her whole self: “my feminist side; my angry side; my dorky side.”
Davanport exploits the brief span of the album for all it’s worth, bringing fiery energy to each track. Leading off with “Treat Em,” she lets the listener know she isn’t to be trifled with. On the EP’s last song, “Jesus (feat. Sophia Eris),” she brings her empowered sexuality to the listener. Overall, her music gives a sense of a woman who knows her value and will make sure you do, too. Davanport would sound right at home alongside the likes of Snow Tha Product, Lizzo, Vince Staples, Janelle Monáe, or Lauryn Hill.
Fans who caught Davanport’s live sets or recordings will be excited to hear more is on the way. Davanport is currently working on her first solo LP, which she expects to release and tour behind in 2019. Other than that, all she would disclose is that it is going to be undeniably her album; there will be a few features, but it is important that for her first album she drives home what she can do on her own.
In her own words: Angel Davanport “can feel the wheels turning.” She says, “I haven’t taken off yet and I’m speeding toward flight.” You can track her rise on Twitter or Instagram or watch her host the Klituation on Dec. 28 at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.
C. Francis O’Leary is a journalism student based in Oregon.