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Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Do People Hate Kreayshawn So Much?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:26 AM

click to enlarge kreayshawn_1.jpg

This week, NYC rapper Azealia Banks called Kreayshawn a "dumb bitch." The outburst was prompted by Kreayshawn putting a link to Banks' "212" video on Twitter, via a porn website. We understand why a serious lady rapper would be offended by forcibly being associated with pornography, but obviously, Banks isn't the first to be incensed by the 21-year-old upstart. People are going to fucking hate Kreayshawn regardless of what she does on Twitter.
The amount of venom thrown her way is tremendous and, given how catchy and smart "Gucci Gucci" was, you have to wonder why. It does feel a little like people are desperate to find reasons to hate her sometimes -- often to a point where the reasons are more knee-jerk than rational. Kreayshawn is mostly a figure of fun and frivolity, yet she has the power to provoke incredible viciousness.

The primary problem seems to be that Kreayshawn is an unapologetic skinny white girl. In our culture, it's largely acceptable to hate skinny white girls on the basis that their success is frequently assumed to be due to their appearance. Truth be told, it's probably why Kreayshawn was given the dubious honor of presenting the black carpet fashion report at last year's VMAs. But Kreayshawn doesn't fit the privileged young white female mold in many ways, from her looks -- this is a girl with multiple silly tattoos, including ones on her knuckles -- to her background. Her story is not one of privilege. She's an Oakland girl who's been on her own since her mid-teens. She's been a couch surfer, a dropout and a stoner. We should be giving her props for her survival instincts, not punishing her for them.

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Kreayshawn's "Gucci Gucci" video went viral fast for a reason -- first, it was anti-consumerist in a rap climate which, on a mainstream level at least, embraces buying expensive shit like it's the be-all and end-all of existence. But more importantly, Kreayshawn is a bona-fide novelty -- not just because of the Minnie Mouse ears she made cool in her breakout video, but precisely because she offers a voice in hip-hop that isn't anywhere else. Little white girls don't have a place in hip-hop -- even as sex objects. And Kreayshawn's lack of obvious sex appeal makes her both an easy seller for girl fans and an easy target for male ones.

One of the most obvious problems with Kreayshawn, however, is that her rapping abilities are limited (as much as we wish they weren't). Her skills are passable, at best, so unless you appreciate her for her charisma, you're going to constantly be questioning her actual skills. Hers is a success based on personality and sass, rather than sheer, unabashed talent. In other musical realms that's acceptable, but in hip-hop, it's a sin.

In recent months, her feistiness is kicking her in the ass too -- see her spat with ex-BFF Lil Debbie -- and some more credible rappers want nothing to do with her because of her lack of humility and seeming overnight success. During a recent conversation with another Bay Area rapper we love, SF Weekly heard Kreayshawn dismissed as "hipster bullshit." Maybe she does appeal to a different set of fans than other rappers, but as long as little white girls are buying hip-hop albums by the ton (and they are), they have the right to buy records from someone who's more relatable to them than sexist dudes talking about dude stuff and (non-bad) bitches.

The bottom line is: Kreayshawn is a fearless and unique force in music today, regardless of whether she's the most skilled artist in hip-hop. She might not be the best, but she offers a valuable alternative in a genre that is too frequently dismissive of all women, whether they be black or white.

Regardless of all the hate that gets thrown her way, we can't help but admire her tenacity and her ballsiness in the face of a scene that fucking hates her and everything she stands for. And, even if you despise everything she releases from here on out, no one can deny that "Gucci Gucci" was a breath of fresh air in 2011. We should, at the very least, let her enjoy the success of that and congratulate her on getting to this point.


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