Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
So far 2012 is shaping up to be the Year of the White Girl Rapper, with artists like Kreayshawn and Iggy Azalea attracting lots of attention from within the hip-hop world and generally being just about the first white female MCs that anyone's willing to take seriously. (I'm sorry, but Northern State was just not a good rap group at all.) The latest white-girl rapper to start catching buzz is Kitty Pryde, a redheaded Floridian teen named after the token teen girl in the 90s X-Men comics. She's recently caught the ear of the Fader, Vice, tastemaking streetwear clothiers Mishka, and the managers of up-and-coming rap collective Main Attrakionz, who now represent her as well.
Recently she released the single "Okay Cupid," and the above video for it hit YouTube this morning. There are two notable things about the song and video. One is that Kitty Pryde is, if not an MC of immediate, attention-grabbing energy, one who more than makes up for it with her writing, which is full of unexpected lyrical twists and twisty, complicated rhyme schemes on par with anyone else rapping right now. The other is that she seems entirely unconcerned with presenting herself in a way that reads as "hip-hop" in the traditional sense. Watch the "Okay Cupid" clip with the sound turned off and the only clue that might tip you off to the fact that what you're watching is a rap video is the Yeastie Girlz shirt Kitty's rocking, and that's only if you get the reference. She and her friends look and act like typical suburban white female teenagers, who have made up a sizable chunk of the audience for rap music for years (though rappers have shown them little love in return).
(I wonder if her decision to avoid hip-hop affectations will endear her to rap critic Toure, who in a misogynistic recent article for the New York Times said that white women rapping is "seen as cute and comical, like a cat walking on its hind legs. Seeing them try to embody the attributes of hip-hop's vision of black masculinity is a hysterical gender disjunction: they wear it as convincingly as a woman wearing her husband's clothes.")
Kitty has adopted the Fader's description of her as "the rap game Taylor Swift" in a way that seems mostly if not completely unironic, and the crushed-out "Okay Cupid" is basically "Call Me Maybe" in rap-song form. Rap purists are no doubt already gnashing their teeth and rending their garments and calling her the downfall of rap music, but whatever. If hip-hop's going to be the people's music, it's going to end up bringing in voices for all the sorts of people it represents. May every demographic that speaks up find a representative who knows his or her way around a rhyme scheme the way Kitty Pryde does.