SWAG SWAG SWAG. Crowd POV shot by Elissa Stolman
By the time this goes up, I’ll be en route to San Francisco, birthplace of myself and internet sensation Kreayshawn
. In a beautiful and simple and relieving way, she is exactly what you think she is based on her conduct in music videos and interviews both written and recorded: really hilariously base and joyously stupid; smart and sharp-witted somewhere down the line; uncomplicated, truly terrible at making music; a complete internet tween meme, and full of some Bay Area flavor I had almost forgotten the taste of.
From outside, the sound of Kreayshawn’s set starting is unmistakable. There’s just bass and none of the intellectual thinky-ness of “serious musicians
” I am coming to crave and respect, and of course the sound of Kreayshawn’s voice, unintelligibly and unmistakably nasal. She is of course rapping about stealing your bitch and smoking blunts and kitties and choppas, and thankfully the venue reeks of pot like one would hope—anything else would be phony. What’s different is that Kreayshawn is not as extremely amateur as rumor has it.
That’s not to say her music doesn’t objectively suck. It sucks pretty bad, you guys. But it’s clear that Kreayshawn has been in the laboratory with people from Columbia to make her act the right amount of stupid balanced with the right amount of polish: she plays new full-on songs, she doesn’t employ the maddening robot whine of her mixtape Kittys X Choppas
(that is as unbearable as it is hilarious), and for the train wreck it should be, Kreayshawn has it all pretty together. It helps that the Based Goddess is obviously a naturally gifted performer and a great MC. She effortlessly establishes an entertaining and nonstop rapport with her audience that exudes a kind of down-to-earthness and stoked-ness, even (or especially) when she cajoles a fan for trying to steal her watch as she wipes her hand through a swab of raised hands in the front row. The show is—and this is totally hateable—Columbia’s answer to Odd Future
, who created havoc in the Highline Ballroom last May.
While Odd Future was violent and hostile and abrasive, Kreayshawn is harmless and fun. While one of her stagemates might close out the show by telling old people to get the fuck out because it’s a new millennium, it’s not as angry as Tyler, the Creator corralling the Highline to jeer slurs at one man’s back as he pushed his way out of the mosh pit. She is as loopy and edgy as Odd Future might be if the collective had skipped giddily into Columbia’s arms; it’s edgy because it’s kinda lesbian (but only kinda) and trashy and all about smoking pot, but I didn’t catch one use of a certain pejorative that starts with “N” throughout the whole show.
And you know what? Whatever. No, Kreayshawn does not make “serious music”—her DJ Lil Debbie worked the turntables to the best of her abilities, which is to say she wasn’t there at all. But Kreayshawn is, for now at least, a fun performer who made it big (for now at least) and brought all her homies onstage to take pictures of each other as she swagged and swabbed her way through a sold-out New York show. She might mean that Odd Future really is over and she might mean that lots of people like terrible music, but she’s fun
and she’s silly
and it’s kind of the best joke ever.
When a fan tosses her (very large) bra at Kreayshawn’s feet, she and her compatriots V-Nasty
and an energetic black guy scoop the thing up and give it a once-over. “You got some sweaty-ass titties!” declares the shirtless black guy, handing the bra to Kreayshawn. Kreayshawn wraps the thing around her head. “I don’t give a fuck,” she tells the audience. This is her moment and her fan’s humongous sweaty bra, so why would she?
The set is short, because (duh) Kreayshawn has, like, three songs. Her lack of material is indicative that she is not yet some radio-ready pop star who got famous overnight; she’s more like a charismatic girl who got famous overnight. She ends with a big sloppy brouhaha, all her homies who had crowded the perimeter of the stage flooding the center to belt out “Saturday Love” after busting out her best songs “Bumpin Bumpin” and “Gucci Gucci.” In the middle of the hit
that garnered her so many views on Youtube (not WorldStar
), a DJ stops the track so Kreayshawn and her fans and 20 or so homies onstage can chant the entire last verse a cappella, from “I’m looking like Madonna but I’m flossing like Ivana Trump,” to “I got the swag and it’s pumping out my ovaries.”
There’s no real finale to a Kreayshawn show. She starts to bid her fans adieu as her friends bob around the stage flicking business cards into the crowd and snap flash photos for their Myspace pages—because let’s be real, they’re totally still on Myspace. The show just kind of fizzles out, but outside the venue her teenybopper audience is stoked. Breathlessly, a girl about 15 or 16 years old recounts how her mother called to tell her to come home just as Kreayshawn took the stage. “But I was buggin’ out!” she says, blinking her heavily made-up eyes.