Kreayshawn: Overnight Sensation, White Girl Tourist, New Rap Paradigm? - June 20, 2011 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Kreayshawn: Overnight Sensation, White Girl Tourist, New Rap Paradigm?

The rapper herself.

During a five-day promotional stay in New York City earlier this month, a cab driver ran over Kreayshawn's foot. The unceremonious snub came after the Bay Area-raised rapper spent her time there taking meetings, granting interviews, posing for photos, dealing with 100-degree temperatures, and being recognized by what she terms as “a whole bunch of crazy people” — including 16-year-old girls, a '70s-looking hippy chick, and someone she describes as “an older business guy who looked like he was up on the computer — like some bald guy.” Kreayshawn says that her foot is okay; the incident occurred when she tried to retrieve a cellphone her manager had left in the cab. “I'm like the Hulk, nothing ever hurts me!” she boasts. “I definitely felt like a New Yorker for sure!” Ask the curmudgeonly cab driver, though, and he likely viewed her as just another annoying out-of-town tourist whose friends should take better care of their cellphone.

The concentrated attention Kreayshawn received was thanks to the near-overnight success of her song “Gucci Gucci,” which tallied up more than a million YouTube video views within a week. (It now stands at more than three million.) But despite a win in the online viral marketing numbers game, “Gucci Gucci” has left a polarizing ripple: The first wave of reaction to Kreayshawn has focused not on her most popular song's merits (it's very catchy), or content (a virtuous antibrand name stance), or even her rapping ability (she'll never be compared to Eminem on mic skills alone), but whether she's in some way denigrating hip-hop culture by virtue of being a white female rapper seeming to invoke the tropes of what is traditionally framed as a largely black and male rap realm. (As ever, the key contribution made by Latinos to hip-hop's genesis is always left out of these discussions.) Regardless of Kreayshawn's early success — and “Gucci Gucci” won her a major label deal with Sony/Columbia, although reports of her receiving a $1 million advance are inaccurate, according to her publicist — she's still being analyzed as a hip-hop outsider, a white girl tourist taking a jaunt through hip-hop's authenticity-obsessed lands.