Kreayshawn and the White Girl Mob (Lil Debbie and V-Nasty)
August 25, 2011
Better than: Working at Arby's.
For the first time since the international explosion of "Gucci Gucci," acquiring a Columbia Records contract, attracting the scrutiny of seemingly every person/outlet that distributes words about popular music in the U.S. (including this one) -- and, of course, the inevitable backlash against her sudden fame -- Bay Area-repping white girl rapper Kreayshawn played a show in her native burg of San Francisco last night.
It wasn't amazing, and it wasn't a disaster. Her 36-minute performance, aided by White Girl Mob members V-Nasty and Lil Debbie, showed she's improved upon what were apparently some awful early shows. But if Kreayshawn is going to hold her own in what will one day be a post-buzz world, among what some would call "real rappers," she's got a ways to go.
Maybe she'll never have to win on that level, though. What attracts people about Kreayshawn isn't her rhyming ability (weak) or her stage presence (which last night was two-thirds naked midriff and one-third '50s secretary glasses.) Her appeal emanates from some combination of her thrift-store bling, slang vocabulary, and weird biography -- and those elements were in full effect last night.
Most of those inside Slim's -- who seemed to be either 18 or 19 or 12 -- seemed to regard Kreayshawn as the harbinger of some new aesthetic order: not just another rapper, but a pop figurehead to whom they could especially relate. The mostly female audience wore glowsticks arranged to look like sunglasses (given away free by Sony marketing interns), huge heels, shaved/bleached/asymmetrical hair, ripped everything.
Kreayshawn herself strutted out in a tiny black fishnet top (barely concealing a pink bra), mostly exposed torso (so much for her not-a-sex-symbol thing), and pajama pants (if pajama pants were skin-tight). Backed by DJ Two Stacks, she and Lil Debbie launched straight into "Rich Whores," or at least the P.A. did: They rapped (shouted, really) over the recorded version of the song, vocal tracks and all.
So passed the next half-hour. Kreayshawn strolled from one side of the stage to the other, taunting the crowd with her bellybutton, and issuing between-song approvals of the amount of weed smoke in the room. She sometimes looked bored. V-Nasty -- who had earlier said on Twitter that she was in L.A. and wouldn't be able to make the show -- ran out five songs in, to massive applause, and grabbed everyone's attention for a while. She's louder, bigger, and more forceful than Kreayshawn, and she's a better rapper, too. But even V-Nasty rapped over pre-recorded vocals.
The front of the room, crammed as it was -- although Slim's never quite felt sold-out -- seemed to regard the set as spectacular, at least when they weren't fighting, grinding, or passing joints. But from a distance (of age, space, or taste), it was all a little dull. Kreayshawn's co-dependent yelling and half-hearted moves never owned the room, and there's still a paltry number of good songs ("Left Eye" was solid, and the show ended, predictably, with "Bumpin' Bumpin' and an everyone-shout-along take on "Gucci Gucci").
The core elements of Kreayshawn and the White Girl Mob are weirdly fascinating, and when channeled right, lead to some intriguingly abrasive music. When the novelty of their look and bios wears off, though, they'll need more than they had last night to stay in the game.
Openers: Kreayshawn was preceded by a parade of up-and-coming Bay Area rappers -- Moe Green, Jay Ant (with a brief appearance by Erk Tha Jerk), and Roach Gigz -- all of whom were disappointing except the latter. Gigz, a nasal-sounding white dude from S.F., ran madly around the stage, rapping at hyperspeed -- too fast for anyone to tell how clever the lyrics on his new mixtape are. He alone scared up more than polite enthusiasm from the crowd.
Father Brandon: Maybe it was the constant shouts of "whoooop" or "swag" -- or the fact that Gigz' DJ played a
whole Lil B song in the middle of the set -- but the influence of mischief-maker Lil B/Brandon McCartney on the young Bay hip-hop scene was hugely evident last night. (Update: The Lil B song was actually Gigz' "Stupid Remix," on which Lil B guests, not a true Lil B song.)