It was just fine, really. Oakland-bred rapper Kreayshawn's big, sold-out show at Slim's last night was amusing, mildly enjoyable, and packed with good people watching. Rapping over prerecorded beats, elfin Kreayshawn and her Chipmunks White Girl Mob (V-Nasty and Lil Debbie) ran through what I suspect is the gamut of their songs in a brief, hyper set.
This likely ages me, but if I'm being honest, I don't totally get the appeal after seeing it live. Sure, “Gucci Gucci” and “Rich Whores” are fun romps through anti-consumerist hipsterdom, and, perhaps conversely, the rapper clearly has a unique aesthetic, but other than that, it felt almost false, even silly -- and unsustainable.
For the first few tracks last night, Kreayshawn and Lil Debbie monster-walked back and forth across the stage in non-choreographed unison, casually shouting duel lyrics and yet somehow still revving up the crowd of mostly young women. This is another aspect about Kreayshawn that's at least interesting – her followers. They dress like her in a pop culture mishmash of '80s ripped punk, horn-rimmed glasses, and door-knocker earrings. Maybe I'm just seeing the ripped up shirts/shorts as reverential to punk because Kreayshawn's mom was there last night – the very awesome Elka Zolot of the Trashwomen.
After a prerecorded “V-Nasty!” screamed through the speakers, Kreayshawn was all, “what's that? A special guest?” and V-Nasty, who has been at the center of her own controversies, bounded out and rapped with the others. And then there were three; similarly paced, mousy high-pitched voices stalking across stage. It must have been an intense night, she earlier tweeted “Doing home shows are hella stressful.”
However I might feel about the quality of music, as mentioned above, it is pretty cool to see teen girls and 20-somethings adopting this attitude of “fuck you” and aping Kreayshawn's style of dress. They clearly adore her and were screaming along with every song. One climbed up on someone's shoulders and whipped her shirt over her head. At least they're not being submissive; I was jostled hard by a number of excited young people in light-up glasses throughout the night.
Who knows if Kreayshawn will stand the test of time. A nominee for "best new artist," it was announced yesterday that she'll be hosting the 2011 VMA Red Carpet Report for MTV.com, so that's something. In some ways, I can see the early Madonna factor – sidenote: both have now rocked fishnets half-shirts – if only based on the fans' obvious obsession with this peculiar new pop culture figure. She could also go the way of so much niche hip-hop before her and disappear after the Next Big Thing. No more swag.
She's definitely inspired an onslaught of parody videos, including these food-themed takes on "Gucci Gucci":