Kreayshawn "Gucci Gucci" (2011)
If the response to the trash-talking, dank smoking, young white, Bay Area female rapper Kreayshawn's hotly buzzed, self-directed & edited music video above for her latest catchy track "Gucci Gucci," which has racked up over 1.1 million views since it was uploaded on YouTube eleven days ago, is anything to go by then the video maker turned rapper's White Girl Mob show tonight (with Lil Debbie & V Nasty) at the modest sized SF SOM Bar on 16th Street will certainly be a sold-out affair.
But for all the accolades that Kreayshawn, who counts Diplo, Das Racist, and Soulja Boy as among her biggest fans, has accumulated during her relatively short rise to fame, the diminutive but far from meek white female artist has also been attracting a lot of hate. An awful lot of hate in fact. "LOL ignorant ass hood rat bitch turned ignorant hipster hood rat bitch. What is hip-hop nowadays?" wrote one non-fan in response to one of her online video interviews, while another wrote, in response to the "Gucci Gucci" video, "Jesus Christ this is atrocious."
As for the haters out there, Kreayshawn appears to be taking it all in her stride; even with a seemingly mischievous sense of delight. It's almost like she knows how to press peoples' buttons (especially older hip-hop heads) and gets a real kick out of it. She is to staid rigid hip-hop ("the four elements man" school of thought) what the Sex Pistols were to established 70's rock. In one interview she rightfully ranks herself in the don't-give-a-fuck new school of rap alongside such other young buzz-worthy acts of this digital age as Odd Future (who she's "homies with") and Lil B (who she's produced videos for). But with each interview she gives and with each music video she unveils Kreayshawn manages to simultaneously win new fans and alienate many hip-hop heads.
Among her outspoken detractors is DJ Platurn who started a heated discussion last week on his Facebok page when, under the post heading KREAYSHAWN: Really? he exclaimed "You can't be serious. Come on...stop fucking with me. It's a joke right?" Like many from The Town (Oakland) the Oakland Faders DJ crew co-founder takes particular umbrage to Kreayshawn's frequent name-checking of Oakland in her raps. "She doesn't rep Oakland. She reps her own brain and her brain is a twisted conglomeration of blog 'hipness' that has nothing to do with the Town. Little kid is confused and/or stupid or it's all an act. Either way it's sad and pathetic."
Among her older (as in past age 25) fans is Kerry Huffman Vann, who has worked in the Bay Area rap industry since the mid nineties and is founder/co-owner of Urbanlife Distribution and Rapbay.com. "That 'Gucci Gucci' song is stuck in my head. I like her. I guess," said Huffman Vann quickly clarifying, "Here's the thing. And why I was laughing out loud; I was thinking about her and my thoughts are that she walks a thin line between being really good and really bad. My next thought is, though I like her, darn it [but] this is going to create a nation of white girls that think they can rap but really can't."
Bay Area promoter and KUSF In Exile radio DJ David Ford calls Kreayshawn, "An unbelieveable talent. She is extremely creative and got her start making videos for The Pack and Lil B. She doesn't get nearly enough credit. She's the one who started the Cooking Dance that Lil B took over and made his own." However Ford acknowledges that she has altered her resume. "What she portrays herself as - born and raised in East Oakland - is not exactly the case. She grew up in San Francisco and went to a private school."
If the artist does reach the top is the hip-hop world ready for Kreayshawn & The White Girl Mob? And is the backlash against the artist merely generational based? "People hate on her coz she is different and she attacks and doesn't care what people think," asserts DJ David Ford. "She doesn't stick to the norms of hip-hop and that pisses people off. Plus she is melding new styles like taking Dubstep beats and making them into something you might not normally hear in hip-hop."
The charges against the artist, who claims Oakland but shoots her "Gucci Gucci" video in Hollywood (and reportedly now lives there), coming off as an entitled hipster slumming it in The Town long enough to adapt its slanguage and swag do seem founded. But that is not necessarily a big deal in this age when so much of rap is a case of self-invention. What is a big deal however, as pointed out by Huffman Vann, is the fact that her fellow White Girl Mob sister V Nasty is "constantly saying the N word, like every other sentence in her mostly wack ass freestyles." Wack ass freestyles may be forgivable but a white person uttering the N word - no matter what the context - publicly, whether on YouTube, Twitter, or on stage is not. And, unless Kreayshawn either has a word with V Nasty or distances herself from her, that could be her career downfall.
Also one wonders if Kreayshawn pretends to be less smart than she really is like when, in an interview with iHipHop, when questioned about why she Tweets so much about the Great Bard she replied, "Shakespeare [pause] he's pretty historical, you know. He's a poet. He's a director of plays." Maybe DJ Platurn hit it on the head when he suggested that, "It's an all an act."
Act or no act Kreayshawn is generating quite a buzz, including airplay on the Bay Area's KMEL radio, with her meteoric rise to fame, thanks to YouTube, Twitter, & Facebook etc., only achievable in this fast paced digital age. But this short attention span online age could as easily discard her and make her last week's news before she even manages to get her first album out. But I doubt it and give her props for being a woman in control of her career in a male dominated genre and for shaking things up and getting such a strong reaction out of people - whether good or bad.
The White Girl Mob's Kreayshawn, V Nasty, and Lil Debbie play SOM in the Mission tonight 5.27 $10..Info.