Last night, Kreayshawn played to a half full crowd at Irving Plaza for part of her Group Hug Tour with Rye Rye, Honey Cocaine, and Chippy Nonstop. The place might not have been at capacity but the room was filled with diehard Kreayshawn fans who were going bananas as she bounced around the stage with her hype-man. Looking around the venue, one could not help but wonder, “what am I doing here and what are all these other people doing here??”
After Kreayshawan’s new album Somethin’ Bout Kreay got totally panned by critics, things have been looking grim for the Bay Area rapper. It is important to realize that she has much to do with the rise of digital age rap and the female presence in the game.
Kreayshawn is an important factor in rap-pop music being made in this time because she genuinely connects to her roots. Yesterday we looked at how humor and seriousness has become blurred in today’s hip-hop scene and Kreay is self-aware that she stands on that vague border. By definition, she should be the center of ridicule: she’s a 22-year-old white girl from the Bay Area trying to entertain herself through a medium that isn’t the most accepting to women like her. But her dyed-in-the-wool embrace of her projected image makes her both fascinating and surprisingly still engaging. She’s not going to rap about robbing liquor stores or violent gang bangs. She’s rapping about smoking weed with her friends, going clubbing, and calling out all her haters.
The reason she began rapping in the first place was simply for fun. There is no way she could have dreamed up how much success “Gucci Gucci” would bring her, but it did because of how real she kept it. The song is simply about how wearing a designer label won’t make you glamorous unless you put your own swag into it and own it and conversely, if you’re not wearing designer labels, that doesn’t mean that you’re not fresh, it’s all about the attitude. She’s not trying to be the next great rap sensation, she’s simply trying to empower herself and other female rappers who are afraid of the game and feel they don’t fit.
Kreayshawn and her crew the White Girl Mob, featuring Lil Debbie and V-Nasty to name a couple, paved the way for new faces on this specific niche rap scene, namely Brooke Candy and Kitty Pryde.
Brooke Candy got discovered when she was featured in the Grimes “Genesis” video, dancing around in a crazy sexy metallic space suit but it turns out she can spit some knowledge. Her video for the track “Das Me” came out in October and the song is a super anthem for ladies to embrace their sexuality and not give a fuck about what anyone says: “It’s time to take the word back / slut is now a compliment / a sexy ass female who runnin’ shit and confident.” It can be questioned whether Brooke Candy could have been taken seriously without Kreayshawn’s pioneering of dissing haters and confidently rapping about how she was going to do her and not care about anyone else.
The same can be said for Kitty Pryde, a teen rapper who blew up on Tumblr with her track “Okay Cupid”. The song is a stream-of-consciousness style rap about crushing on a dude and obsessing about it. Kreayshawn taught these novices to just rap about what they know and own it, if people don’t get it, that’s fine. Haters will be haters but as long as you’re staying true to you, they have no argument.
The trend of female rappers coming on the scene through Youtube can definitely be attributed to Kreayshawn. She harnessed the power of social media to reach an audience that didn’t necessarily understand her at first but now is fiercely loyal. With such a wide reach and with lyrics urging all ladies to embrace who they are, Kreayshawn should not be put aside. She’s an entrepreneur that understands the time we’re living in and wants to shatter stereotypes about what is and is not acceptable on the scene.
Photos by Rachel Kaplan.