Identity Crisis: (not so?) Briefly On Kreayshawn

Erik, no one cares about Kreayshawn anymore. She blew up like two months ago and you are just getting around to talking about her and we’re already on to the next thing that you have not been paying attention to. So, why for the love of god, you fat, old man, with your Raw Nerve 7″s and your Lungfish reissues (that consequently the kids also don’t care about) are you bringing this up now? Denman already dropped science about this Oakland rapper lady back in May. What is it that you could possibly want to add to this conversation?

All valid statements from the peanut gallery that is raging inside my head as I type this. But see, I can’t stop thinking about Kreayshawn. The infectious flow and beat of “Gucci Gucci” is out of control; delivered by this five foot three, petite young woman, with hoop earrings you could drive a Plymouth through, and hair that looks like it was made in a factory by the nimble hands of child laborers in Kuala Lumpur, rather than put together at a beauty salon. But Kreayshawn, like a lot of young hip hop artists bothers me. There is a lack of authenticity that I don’t seem to be the only one bothered by, but there is also this new, harsher use of language by today’s youth that I just don’t understand.

First and foremost, Kreayshawn is not the first midget white lady to drop some mad science. I am shocked at how much the internet seems to forget with its long line of information available but it’s utterly short attention span. Back in 2005, the internet, by way of Great Brittain gave us Lady Sovereign, who wreaked havoc on the world, got signed by Jay-Z, made some amazing singles and then seemed to fade out. The question of authenticity was raised then, but Lady Sovereign’s witty, grime delivered rhymes included her own self deprecation and silly appreciation, often in the same breath was fun. Not being a grand follower of Grime or understanding British Hip-Hop which is probably much more complicated than the US Hip-Hop scene, I can’t say with any authority that the SOV was not authentic. But nothing felt forced. Clearly, Lady S was not trying too hard, and yet it was still fun to listen to.

So the first thing that bothers me about Big K here is the name itself. Kreayshawn sounds like one of those made up names consisting of two or more names that you’ve actually heard. And while this may sound terrible, my experience in corporate America has taught me that such practices are fairly common among mothers and fathers in African-American families. None of my middle class white friends have kids whose names have hyphens in them is the point I’m trying to get. I’m not bagging on the practice, in fact, I think it’s cool. How many more god damn Sarah’s and Laura’s and Kelly’s do I need to know in my life? But Kreayshawn was not named Kreayshawn at birth and her parents clearly are not of the community in which one finds this to be acceptable by their peer. It would be awesome if they were, but they named her Natassia Gail Zolot, which is already unusual enough. It’s been suggested that Natassia’s stage name is the bastardization of Creation, and if so, it’s not a very good one. Natassia is exotic and interesting enough there pipsqueak. There is nothing authentic in this whatsoever. It’s the adaptation of, rather than the reinvention of a theme that does not fit the personality. At all.

The search for authenticity continues in the “Gucci Gucci” video as pointed out far more poignantly by others. Kreayshawn is supposedly a part of the The White Girl Mob, but this video lacks any kind of mob of white kids, let alone white girls. Or girls, or bitches as she loves to refer to women as (we’ll get to this). The video is a mob of young, black men, the industry standard for the supposed audience of hip-hop. Even though white boys, from small cities are generally the one’s coping  hip-hops worst en mass. I’m glad she’s claiming love for other little teeny girl white shorties, I guess(?). But I don’t see it, here, in your break through video/song, Kreayshawn. What I see is you, a token entry into a community that I see no connection to. The kids aren’t decked out in the ridiculous uniforms, the black teen boys you surround yourself with, are pretty much in the same clothes that kids have worn for years. You seem out of touch, not down to earth at all. And is it just me, or does this feel like Kreayshawn is the masters wife out in the field? It’s not a delicate image to have transmitted at you and I can’t think of any equally poetic or polite way to point that out. But she’s decked out, obviously not in Gucci or Prada or whatever she’s allegedly railing against, but definitely her fashion sets her not just apart, but above the black, male youth she is exploiting for authenticity.

Finally, and only because the internet works so fast, I can’t help but wonder what the end game is for her. Nothing about the image feels authentic or looks authentic. It might not be as far-stretching as Lady Gaga, the current queen of visual manipulation (yet), but it seems like an act. A ride down her tumblr account recently shows a much more subtle, plane Kreayshawn. Further, recent news indicates that she is now the mastermind behind the soon to be released new music video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is a band I love, but I am a 34-year-old white male whose sensibilities were produced in the 90’s. I love them, but they are the bloated, outdated rock stars that hip-hop is supposed to be railing against, not embracing them. This seems highly careerist of her with the benefits more to RHCP gaining youth market validity while she just looks like she grasping.

I’m old, I get it. I’m continually reminded of this  with the continuation of Glee, The Bear and The Bunny and Ke$ha’s continued career that was not laughed out of the executive office of a so-called major label recording company. I am not a target audience for anyone, anymore. The times in which media dabbled in Death Metal and Punk Rock seem to be over, having co-opted what they wanted from it and filtering it out of public awareness. Kreayshawn, despite her so-called swagger and anti-feminist front is a safe bet. In fact, it’s this lack of authenticity that makes it perfectly reasonable to assume she will succeed where Lady Sovereign failed. She is non-threatening, if ridiculous looking. But me, I don’t get why it’s so intoxicating now.

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