Yesterday I was blessed with a windfall invitation to go see Kreayshawn‘s NYC debut from my friend John, who’d won a contest. For those not in the know, Kreayshawn is the stylishly bratty young video director/M.C. who rode the insane viral success of her catchy “Gucci Gucci” to a $1 million record deal with Sony. I never miss a chance to confront a meme in person, so to tony LES cabaret spot The Box we went.
Upon arriving at the venue (we were instructed to get there early to guarantee admission), we lined up in the horrible fucking heat with all the other contest winners as Sony employees breezed past security and into the air-conditioned space. I was sort of curious as to whether the young white rapper had any black fans besides the guys in Odd Future; a quick scan of the line said no, not very many. However, it was cute to see all the little girls who’d dressed up in Kreayshawn’s signature style, which seems to involve fortunate thrift store finds, streetwear, huge glasses, and at least one thing with sequins on it. No basic bitches here! I’m pretty sure many of them were using fake IDs, too. How very street of them.
At the front of the line was a small group of Kreayshawn’s biggest fans, whose long wait in the heat hadn’t made them any less exuberant:
Once inside, we got ourselves some $8 beers and waited for the show to start. It wasn’t long before Kreayshawn and her sister Lil’ Debbie came out onstage to much loud cheering and throwing of hands in the air. “Are you wearing your glasses?” she asked, referring to the glowstick glasses we’d been given while waiting in line. “I bought those just for you guys so you can get your hyphy on!”
She then launched into her new song “Rich Whores,” which mocks wealthy poseurs with repetitive, sing-song-y lyrics and the assertion that they do a lot of cocaine. (Are we to believe that Kreayshawn doesn’t do blow? Or just that when she does it, she does so in a more authentic fashion than rich whores do?) Lil’ Debbie waved her arms around and backed her sis up on some phrases, but didn’t seem to make much audible noise. (Was her mic off?) It was somewhat ironic to hear K say “What up bitch, I see you dancing with no rhythm” while she herself bounced stiffly without moving her hips.
Next, she attempted to engage the audience in some banter. “Have you ever been cheated on before?” she asked a guy in the front row. He said no, he had good swag like that. “Okay, well have you ever cheated on anyone?” He responded in the negative once again. “Okay, well, you’re a bad example,” she said, then performed the as-yet-unreleased song “Left Eye,” which is about exacting violent vengeance on the man who wronged you. In it, she name checks various famous crazies including Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, Amy Winehouse, Lorena Bobbit, and Courtney Love. (Her inclusion of Courtney in a line about “murder in the first degree” didn’t win her any points with this lifelong Hole fan.)
She only performed two more songs: “Bumpin Bumpin,” and her hit “Gucci Gucci.” All told, the set clocked in at just under 15 minutes. (I’d make a joke about her 15 minutes of fame, but someone else already did.) For all their excited line-waiting, I expected the hardcore fans up front to clamor for more, but they didn’t. After absconding to the balcony, Kreayshawn tried to get their attention by waving around a paper flower for someone to catch, but everyone was already filing out obediently. This seems like an apt metaphor for the Internet’s attention span.
The whole thing seemed designed to gather buzz for her upcoming show at Terminal 5; the fans who attended will now go home and tell their friends how great it was, and they will all buy tickets. Also, they will post their bootlegs on the Internet. (In a venue with such serious security, letting everyone use recording devices was almost definitely a conscious decision.) Will her performing and songwriting catch up with her fame, or is she currently as big as she’s ever going to get? My money’s on the latter, but who knows? If not, she always has video directing to fall back on. I must admit I’m curious about what the Kreayshawn-directed Red Hot Chili Peppers comeback clip will look like.