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August 28, 2012 10:35 PM   Subscribe

Orion's Belt is a rap duet between the insouciant twentysomething Kitty Pryde and the cartoonishly vivid RiFF RaFF. The two styles contrast each other hilariously.
posted by Rory Marinich (87 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lyrics and interpretation at RapGenius.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:37 PM on August 28, 2012


What.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 10:40 PM on August 28, 2012


Kitty Pryde is basically the best. How did that kid learn to rap? And where in the world did that flow come from? She is seriously from outer space. Like, a comic book what-if world where rap came out of spoken word poetry of the 50's... or, something, I don't know. But it's crazy.

On the other hand, I was hoping for more from RiFF RaFF. Super-weak. I enjoyed him on NEATO, but this effort suggests that he may not have much more to offer. Turn it up dude!
posted by Poppa Bear at 10:52 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hell of Caucasian, Dogg.

Gonna bulldoze so many coins
Gonna have so many framed Bart Simpson pictures
To gird my loins
Yeah
Girl I'm dangerous like a carnie
And dang that ain't no blarnie
We be up in that tilt-a-whirl
Whirl, whirl, yeah girl
Tilt, tilt, yeah girl
Big grin on my face, hella smarmy
Yeah slant rhyme like my favorite ride
Whirl, whirl, yeah girl
Tilt, tilt, yeah, tilt a whirl
posted by boo_radley at 10:58 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


How did that kid learn to rap?

Sounds like her lawyer dad listened to a lot of DOOM.
I ♥ KITTY PRYDE
posted by carsonb at 11:07 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't get what's "hilarious" about it. White people rapping stopped being intrinsically funny around 15 years before Eminem.

It's a damn good beat- the producer is obviously the real star here and it's all highly highly calculated in American Apparel/Vice Magazine/8.1 on Pitchfork way. But painful as it is for me to say, neither of them is awful at rapping. Dude is doing a weak Eminem imitation, but then most rappers aren't as good as Em in his prime.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:07 PM on August 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, the Kenny Powers of the rap game. I like his iced out ICEE chain, that is clever.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:10 PM on August 28, 2012


Yeah, I was just coming back to sing the praises of Beautiful Lou. The story goes Kitty Pryde got her Special Herbs-based stuff up online and he sent her a big ol' disc of beats. She's been going nuts on that ever since.
posted by carsonb at 11:11 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, in re: to that lyrics site isn't the hook:

Whee, I *killed* rap

not

Whee, I *can* rap

Sure sounds like it to me.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:14 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


For a little perspective on gimmicky "White Trash" rap, Bubba Sparx came out in 2001. He was written off as a cheap post-Eminem cash-in, but he was really pretty good in hindsight.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:17 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't get what's "hilarious" about it.

Do you get what the word "contrast" means?
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:20 PM on August 28, 2012


One is male, one is female, it's a hilarious contrast!
posted by Brocktoon at 11:29 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the realm of hipster-hop, north of Hoodie Allen, but still far south of Odd Future. I give it 6 out of 10 ridiculous moustaches.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:30 PM on August 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


He kinda contrasts with everyone. Like inBird on a Wire with Action Bronson, he's got this Easy E high pitched nasal thing going on. They got a real look in that video with those brick phones, Dirt Nasty looks like a real scumbag.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:36 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's hilarious about it is that this little girl who looks like she's working on her drivers permit when she's not selling soft serve in the mall has acually got some sick flow and a bit of lyrical fire to back it up. She's enough to hook the Rory Marinich demographic all mooney-eyed AND make geeers like me blush. The RIFF-RAFF angle is kind of weird, but I think he's riding the weird line between goofy and creepy and brings enough tension to the act to pique interest.

The behind the senes video has a little background on Kitty Pryde and her collab on Orion's Belt. Her story is pretty fascinating, what with not really aiming to blow up.
posted by carsonb at 11:38 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kitty has some talent, no doubt. Its funny how she seems to have such a likeable, low-key persona behind her amusing and self-effacing lyrics, and yet she still manages to attract many metric fucktons of savage vitriol on the good old internet.

And drjimmy, she is almost certainly saying "Whee, I can rap".
Or "Beeee I Kin Rap, beebeee I can rap".
Or "there's a beeee I can trrrap, bee bee I can trap".
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 11:39 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This song was fantastic, not least of all because she mentions Slug.
posted by cthuljew at 12:03 AM on August 29, 2012


I hate rap as much as anyone can (and I do), but this was the most vanilla-flavoured white bread thing ever.

Kitty Pryde was quite attractive, but the music... does this even qualify as rap?
posted by Mezentian at 12:13 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry but there is no sick flow in this video anywhere. Guess I need to go dig through her catalogue, but currently I think you are all crazy pants.
posted by matt_od at 12:14 AM on August 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Well.. She always sounds awful spoken word to me, and not even poetry slam. Not everyone can be Joey Bada$$ or Capital STEEZ though so that's ok.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:38 AM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Regardless of how you classify Kitty's music, or by which Rap-o-meter you gauge her "flow" volume with, if you listen to a few of her tracks you will see that she has a knack for wry, clever rhymes and a tendency to engage in some light self-deprecation. And yeah, her delivery is sort of affectless at times, but that's kind of part of her charm, I think. She's just an amateur musician with a burgeoning level of fame and talent and some killer beats.
And RiffRaff does some good work as well.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 12:58 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


So riff-raff is for real now?

I hate rap as much as anyone can (and I do), but this was the most vanilla-flavoured white bread thing ever.
Kitty Pryde was quite attractive, but the music... does this even qualify as rap?


I am 100% the opposite of you, and I completely agree.


I like white rappers, I like female rappers, old shit, new shit(thats from yesterday!), and funny and weird, and sentimental and hardcore (i'd keep linking, but I want to finish this comment tonight).

This is just something else.
Riffraff sucks, but he might be playing a big joke. So what? His music is pretty much crap against any but the most superficial yardsticks of the last 35 years.

Die Antwoord is satirical, in a way that I don't understand, but those guys make some weird music, cool videos and can actually rap, and have been doing it for years. I'm not a huge fan, but I have a hard time _not_ watching their videos when they come on.

Kitty Pryde I don't get the hype behind. At best its inoffensive and meandering. Her flow isn't "out of this world", it sounds like someone who sorta knows what it sounds like and isn't trying very hard. Ditto Kreayshawn (or whatever).

People want a femninem, they _want_ a good white girl rapper, and anything that approaches that is going to get some attention, because there just aren't many contenders.

The problem is, most of them just aren't that good. Watch a Kreayshawn radio appearance, or even listen to a single other than "Gucci Gucci", she has almost zero mic presence (though her DJ has some good beats!).
If it wasn't about surfacing as a white female rapper, I doubt she would have called her crew the "white girl mob".

It doesn't sound like someone who's spent a lot of time listening to hip-hop, and rapping with their friends. It barely even sounds like they give a shit about it. Its almost always more a fashion statement than a musical statement, or even a song. There is rarely a skillful, developed, _sincere_ (looking at you iggy azalea) voice.

I've seen Kitty Pryde described as "tumblr rap", which makes a certain sense. Its ephemeral, a lot of pretty colors, but not a lot of substance. Guys like her because she's pretty and sweet, girls like her because she looks like them. Fine, I guess, but don't think that this is going to start some kind of revolution.

There just isn't much there.

It was the same for a lot of beastie boys fans. It was safe, you could say "I like the rap, I like the beastie boys", and nod along to the pop hits, and rap along with the shallow lyrics, without caring about the culture, the music, the politics, the anger, or anything in-between (this is not a bag on the beasties they were light years ahead of these guys in the early 80s.)

This, like community fans-turned-childish gambino fans, is the kind of thing you see referenced as "i'm at best a casual listener of hip-hop, but I like this!"

I don't want to get into a silly "this is hip-hop, that is not" ivory tower discussion. Hip-hop is the most broadly encompassing pop-culture, possibly ever! Check it out, Hopsin is a black kid from LA who grew up wanting to sound like Eminem!

Rapping now has been a cross-over mainstream vocal style for 20+ years. Remember C+C music factory? Bud Bundy trying to volley his acting role on Married with Children into a serious rap career? That stuff gets regarded as a novelty because, well, its simulacrum.

I hope there are more women in hip-hop, white or not; ditto anyone else underrepresented. The reaction or lack of acceptance of these two is less about a 'Rap-o-meter to gauge her "flow"', but rather having an understanding of the form beyond a passing familiarity with whats on the radio.

There is a big world of hip-hop just beneath the surface.
All ya gotta do is scratch the itch.
posted by lkc at 1:34 AM on August 29, 2012 [25 favorites]


The only two names in this thread so far (unless I've missed one) with musical output worth paying any attention to are DOOM and Action Bronson.

There have been a lot of excellent female emcees over the years, but Kitty Pryde ain't one of them.
posted by broadway bill at 1:52 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dig it; i can't put my finger on WHY i like it, but something about it is just oddly compelling, and i find myself singing little snippits of it now and again.
posted by dethb0y at 2:04 AM on August 29, 2012


I can't tell you how I am excited about Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers movie about Riff Raff.
posted by Pope Xanax IV at 2:05 AM on August 29, 2012


er, how excited I am?
posted by Pope Xanax IV at 2:06 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


lkc: It was the same for a lot of beastie boys fans. It was safe, you could say "I like the rap, I like the beastie boys", and nod along to the pop hits, and rap along with the shallow lyrics, without caring about the culture, the music, the politics, the anger, or anything in-between (this is not a bag on the beasties they were light years ahead of these guys in the early 80s.
So, it's a form of gentrification then? The musical equivalent of a moneyed, white 20-something moving into the Mission District or north of 125 Street and assuming that their mere geographic translation confers upon them a degree of edginess? I can buy that.

What really weird, though, is how utterly commonplace this would be anywhere outside the United States. Take the UK, for instance, where most pop musicians of the moment—Jessie J, Adele, Professor Green, hell, even an art rock band like Alt-J—are self-consciously channelling a "black" vocal delivery and no one bats an eyelid. Why does something so apparently commonplace outside the US seem revolutionary or comment-worthy when it takes place within it? Could it be, I don't know, America's almost unprecedented degree of racial segregation and the mass fetishization of racial otherness this engenders?
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:17 AM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Weird thing about Hopsin is he is one of those rappers who likes to mention the illuminati
posted by Ad hominem at 2:19 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bloody Illuminati mind-control puppets again!
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:22 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why does something so apparently commonplace outside the US seem revolutionary or comment-worthy when it takes place within it

Really, it happens here too, especially in pop music, and nobody cares. There are dozens of pop artists who made a career of sounding like michael jackson. And of course we have blue eyes soul, soul music performed by white artists.

Rap music is a bit different because it has traditionally been part of the larger culture of hip-hop. Rap has a history of dealing with the plight of non-whites in America and socially uplifting messages directed specifically at people of color.Forgive me for linking to the obvious but some of use who hate rap may have never heard these, Everything from then general sense of unrest in The Message to the issues of drugs in the black community in White Lines to black nationalism wrapped in mysticism in Funkin Lesson and straight up anti white sentiment in The Devil Made Me Do it.. Believe it or not there was a time when rap artists disdained the pop charts and some expressed that they didn't want any white listeners at all. Throughout all this there was some resentment towards mostly white run record labels capitalizing off rap, Show Business.

And on and on, There are hundreds or thousands of examples some of here could link.

There are white rappers who don't take much criticism, but they are particularly steeped in hip-hop culture. Eminem in particular, and Paul Wall who is pretty much the real life Riff Raff come to mind.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:57 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kitty Pryde just referenced so much stuff I can't but help but want to fist-bump her.

I can't get down with her style, but in some bizarro way she has won me over.
posted by Mezentian at 4:13 AM on August 29, 2012


So, it's a form of gentrification then? The musical equivalent of a moneyed, white 20-something moving into the Mission District or north of 125 Street and assuming that their mere geographic translation confers upon them a degree of edginess? I can buy that.


First off, a disclaimer: I live in the Mission. I've gotten a fair amount of flak for being a "harbinger of gentrification" in some of the other places I've lived (hollywood pre-giant mall and kodak theatre, Seattle on beacon hill), but I don't wear lensless glass-frames or have an ironic moustache.
I also can't stand indie rock.
That being said, I'm a software engineer for a major media company, chubby, white nerdy, and I love hip-hop, even when I hate it. My dad is a hippy/punk/artist, and the first concert he took me to was LL Cool J and RUN D.M.C. when I was about 6. He wanted me to be into Bob Dylan, I picked Public Enemy.

Moving on:
Yes, its a kind of gentrification, its also a kind of wink-wink-nudge-nudge racism. For a lot of people, Radiohead and the Arcade Fire and the Decemberists are sacrosanct, and meaningful, but they like rap because they have the Soulja Boy ringtone.


My first corporate job was full of people who had the brand-new ipods, which could hold 10,000 songs, and they didn't even have 100. What they did have was some old tv show theme songs, "U can't touch this", "Ice, Ice, Baby", and a few tracks from the radio. At the time I think it was Franz Ferdinand, and maybe "Hey Ya". Most all of them loved the beastie boys, though.

Throughout their career, the lead-in on any article about the Beastie Boys was "at the forefront in both the rock and rap worlds," but that wasn't really true. I mean, they were respected, and old school, and nobody is gonna fuck with Pauls Boutique, but "Intergalactic"? Thats a pop-radio club song. Nobody was scratching the "sabotage" acapella after shook ones came out.

The last 10 years, with 50-cent, and Kanye West, and Jay-Z all having a bizarre obsession with winning grammy's (which have never been considered an award of artistic merit), the pop-radio, and club music, and auto-tune, and keyboard-heavy (sample and royalty-free) production has really made the line between "pop" and "hip-hop" pretty hard to tell from a distance. The alternative is the oh-so precious indie rock, with their "personal" lyrics.

Here's the thing:
Its OK to like rap if its superficial, or crass, or material. Its OK to like rap if its dumb and its danceable. As long as you know that Radiohead (or whoever) is a better band.

I was drawn to hip-hop, even as a poor white kid from the woods outside Seattle, because it was, as Afrika Bambaataa described it to Malcolm McClaren "black punk rock". It was people who felt marginalized and pissed off, using their anger and intelligence and creativity to work their way out of the hand they had been dealt. It was about being smart, instead of the actual American punk rock at the time that was about sniffing glue.

That shit resonated immediately, and deeply. This was honesty, and self-expression, and eloquence, and anger. Like sage francis said in "mullet":


I swore to god [hip-hop] was about the upliftment of humanity. I swore to god hip-was not rock... was not pop.



In high school people saw my P-funk and de-la soul and public enemy CD's and say "man, you sure do like nigger music, why?" (Answer: so I won't have to spend my life around assholes like you!). A few other kids got into NWA and Scarface, but more for the taboo language than any of the commentary.

Times have changed.

In fact, its expected that you'll like some rappers. Kanye is certainly acceptible, as is Jay-Z. Those guys are unashamedly commercial, and making tracks to sell the most albums to the most people, and they are damn good at it, and surrounded by marketers and producers and affiliates that are also damn good at it.

At the same time, the "Gold Standard" and "You can't ignore" Kanye is doing pop hits with Katy Perry with insighful lyrics like "Ill disrobe you / then I'll probe you", and the recent thread on Lupe Fiasco's "Bitch Bad" somehow being a breakthrough (when its just ... shallow, like most everything he's done since Daydreamin'), and seeming to just miss the fact that we had, say "Revolutionary Generation", back in the day.

"But is it Hip Hop?"


What really weird, though, is how utterly commonplace this would be anywhere outside the United States. Take the UK, for instance, where most pop musicians of the moment—Jessie J, Adele, Professor Green, hell, even an art rock band like Alt-J yt —are self-consciously channelling a "black" vocal delivery and no one bats an eyelid


This always reminds me of Led Zepplin getting sued for not crediting the traditional blues songs they aped. Or Eric Clapton supporting Enoch Powell (which came up on mefi recently). The UK has a different perspective, for better or worse, but they can freely ignore American racial divides and appreciate the music. I dj'd for a few years in Tokyo, and I was surprised at how much "hip-hop" and "punk" were just tones and styles, with none of the social context, but a crew of house DJ's I knew had issues with their own crew if they played something other than Tokyo house... one gal played a Detroit House set, and one of her crewmates said "Well, that'd be cool, if we were Detroit DJ's, but we're a Tokyo crew."

Hell I thought it all sounded like house music. But I'm not a fan.

--

I don't like pop music.

Again, I don't want to get into ivory tower definitions, and I love more than my fair share of offensive or dumb rap. I just hate that the big crossovers into pop seem to only embody materialism, arrogance, and a transient meaninglessness ; that people half my age now think that that is simply what hip hop is, and what rap should sound like.

That the real rappers talk stupid and the more tattoos and sunglasses they have, the better.

Or that its saying clever things that rhyme while you're looking pretty posed in front of your mac-book.

Hip-hop is a real fucking thing, a serious art form, and there are people who spend their lives day and night working at it, sometimes for decades.
That there are white people who get by rapping is nothing fucking new, not the beasties, not serch, not el-p, not slug, and certainly not eminem.

Hip hop has survived with or without mainstream acceptance, so if there is a resistance from people like me, at Kitty Pryde for a lackadaisical approach to something I've taken seriously since before she was born, or to Riffraff who's just aped the MTv persona, and put more time into the image on the camera, than the words on the track.

That a collaboration between the two is hilarious for the "contrast".

Like that dude playing a brainless 50 cent club song on a ukelele was hilarious for the "contrast".

That the people who like this stuff tend to not be hip-hop fans. And think its funny, because its making fun of something stupid.
Then yes, I guess that's gentrification.
posted by lkc at 4:23 AM on August 29, 2012 [16 favorites]


(p.s. if you want to know what real hip-hoppers, think you need only go to r/hiphopcirclejerk over on reddit)
posted by lkc at 4:31 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the things about Kitty Pryde is that she has a song called smiledog.jpg.

That reddit link is hilarious:

Aspiring white MC here. I hate how Lil Wayne makes us look bad by trying to skateboard and play guitar

TIL MF Doom is based on Dr. Doom

I just read the whole rapgenius.com explanation for "D'Evils" AMA
posted by postcommunism at 4:44 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kind of a strange video until you realize they're all supposed to be tripping.
Can I ask a question, am I making someone money when I click on this Youtube shit with commercials?
posted by delmoi at 5:26 AM on August 29, 2012


Er, I meant to point out that yes, people make money when you watch youtube videos with ads.
posted by delmoi at 5:42 AM on August 29, 2012


The Internet: Where white 30-somethings defend the purity of hip-hop against white teenagers.
posted by gwint at 6:01 AM on August 29, 2012 [16 favorites]


Also: where you can discard a long, interesting comment that took a while to write with one line of empty snark, rather than risk disagreeing in kind.
posted by gilrain at 6:18 AM on August 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


The Internet: Where white 30-somethings defend the purity of hip-hop against white teenagers.

Geez, finally someone gets it!
posted by lkc at 6:20 AM on August 29, 2012


I have no problem with Kitty Pryde. She came out of nowhere and is on Minute 11 of 15 and is enjoying the ride. She has the right attitude towards stardom:

manager:
i dont like that he called you a "meme"

kitty:
if i end up with a betsey johnson dress after all of this they can call me whatever the fuck they want

posted by delfin at 6:21 AM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


That guy sucked, and he sucked even more in the other videos someone linked. She's a lot more charming; I can see the description of tumbler rap, definitely, but there's something there, not just fluff.

What I really appreciate are all the links in the comments; there's some good listening there and directions I want to follow.
posted by Forktine at 6:31 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


lkc, thank you for your well thought out comments. I've been a hip hop fan for 20 years and I still don't feel I know enough to agree or disagree, but I appreciate you taking the time; snark is easy and cheap (and lord knows I've engaged in enough of it).
posted by desjardins at 6:35 AM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Desjardins: One of the true beauties of hip-hop, is simply the opinions and arguments it engenders.

Not a goddamn thing is sacred, and every goddamn thing is meaningful.
posted by lkc at 6:41 AM on August 29, 2012


Back when MC Hammer came out, Chuck D praised his success. You know who called him a poser? 3rd Base. It was always thus.
posted by gwint at 6:45 AM on August 29, 2012


She came out of nowhere and is on Minute 11 of 15 and is enjoying the ride.

If you listen to her stuff and take a look at kittydothedishes she came out of an online subculture where making things and then tossing them out there is just sort of what you do. Thing is, being a girl who looks and acts like she does on the internet normally makes her a target of that subculture, or at least a good chunk of it. She knows this and plays with it. Hence the album title haha i'm sorry. Or at the end of Thanks Katheryn Obvious, where there's a fake complaint that fades out into resignation: "I'm just a little girl, stop picking on me on the internet. I'm telling...on you."

It's hard for me not to read Justin Bieber as a "fuck you" to the sort of harassment she can expect just for starting a tumbler. She's embracing something that would normally be used to club her.

I don't think fame is the point. It's a small wave she's riding, but she's riding it instead of drowning. I like her.
posted by postcommunism at 6:45 AM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I was barely awake when I wrote my first comment in this thread, which is a dreadful, all-over-the-place mess in retrospect, but I'm glad that it at least elicited lkc's much more cogent and interesting response.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:46 AM on August 29, 2012


Thing is, being a girl who looks and acts like she does on the internet normally makes her a target of that subculture, or at least a good chunk of it. She knows this and plays with it.
Agreed. But it's also a discursive or attitudinal shield she can use to hide the metric fuckton of class- and racial-privilege she also brings to the game. That this is a drive-by piece of slumming, an association that her class, ethnicity, education, and appearance in actuality seals her off from. She can, after all, go back to being a well-positioned, well-connected white "lawyer's daughter" in a way that is completely impossible for anyone who's actually African American or of the subculture she's dallying with. Kind of like a flapper from Lower Manhattan hitting the jazz clubs of Harlem in the '30s, knowing that she can safely get the local back home at the end of the evening and not be stuck there, as those who have to wear more compromising skins and identities have to be.

That she's charming and funny is disarming, certainly, but it's still (arguably) an aspect of the same class and race privilege that enables her to put herself out there in this way in the first place.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:01 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh? Where exactly is she displaying a "metric fuckton" of class and racial privilege? Is it just by the mere act of rapping? Of existing on the Internet?
posted by gwint at 7:08 AM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


The first time I saw RiffRaff show up in a video (that Neato song), I thought to myself "Damn...Cameron Diaz has hit the wall!".
posted by stifford at 7:08 AM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Back when MC Hammer came out, Chuck D praised his success. You know who called him a poser? 3rd Base. It was always thus.

To be fair, there were a lot of people going off on MC Hammer back in the day. From MC Hammer's wikipage:

A critical backlash began over the repetitive nature of his lyrics, his clean-cut image, and his perceived over-reliance on sampling others' entire hooks for the basis of his singles—criticisms also directed to his contemporary, Vanilla Ice. He was mocked in music videos by 3rd Bass, The D.O.C., DJ Debranz, and Ice Cube. Oakland hip-hop group Digital Underground mocked him in the CD insert of its Sex Packets album when placing his picture in with the other members and referring to him as an unknown derelict. In fact, LL Cool J mocked him in "To tha Break of Dawn," a track on his Mama Said Knock You Out album, calling Hammer an "amateur, swinging a Hammer from a bodybag [his pants]," and saying, "My old gym teacher ain't supposed to rap." (LL Cool J would later compliment and commend Hammer's abilities/talents on VH-1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop, which aired in 2008). However, Ice-T came to his defense on his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster: "A special shout out to my man M.C. Hammer: a lot of people dis you, man, but they just jealous." Ice-T later explained that he had nothing against people who were pop-rap from the start, as Hammer had been, but only against emcees who switch from being hardcore or dirty to being pop-rap so that they can sell more records.


the one I remember most was "MC Mallet" from the start of "The Formula" video, by The D.O.C.
posted by stifford at 7:25 AM on August 29, 2012


She can, after all, go back to being a well-positioned, well-connected white "lawyer's daughter" in a way that is completely impossible for anyone who's actually African American or of the subculture she's dallying with

The subculture I was talking about was a particular corner of the interwebs, not hip hop. The sort of thing which takes offense to girls like Kitty Pryde and which fairly regularly leads to people breaking into her online profiles, people trying to dig up dirt on her and send it to her parents/school (or faking it and sending it anyway), 3am phone calls telling her to kill herself, poisoning her google results, or on the less nasty but much more widespread side, communal mobbing of her videos to thumbs them down on youtube, a general "fuck that [whatever slur]" attitude that becomes a sort of background noise whenever her name comes up, and just a general "how dare you, you worthless semi-person."

This isn't even a general "girl on the internet" thing, it's a pretty specific context. I could be wrong, but it's what I get based on various referents I see around her.

That's the sort of things she's jumping into, and yet she does fine.
posted by postcommunism at 7:25 AM on August 29, 2012


Man, there's a whole bunch of "get off my lawn" in this MeFi thread. Who woulda thunk?

Every generation makes music that a lot of the previous generation hates. Punk. Hip hop. Metal. Now dub step and riff raff. You don't like it? That's the point. Oh, you do like? Well fuck you too.

(I'm 39 and actually dig riff-raff but I would forever be an outsider in that community, because a 39-year-old who likes riff raff is a bad thing.)
posted by bpm140 at 7:32 AM on August 29, 2012


This track is fucking awesome.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:46 AM on August 29, 2012


(I'm 39 and actually dig riff-raff but I would forever be an outsider in that community, because a 39-year-old who likes riff raff is a bad thing.)
You are allowed to like whatever you like. I am 47 and find Riff-Raff tremendously amusing.
posted by crazy_yeti at 7:48 AM on August 29, 2012


I have had roughly this conversation three times in the last few weeks:

"Hey, you know about Kitty Pryde?"
"Yeah, she's awesome!"
"Right? She's playing live. You want to come see her with me? I'd go alone, but I would feel too creepy to enjoy the show."
"Yeah, same here. But I'm still not going to go."

It's like when I went to go see SALEM and realized that if it wasn't for the 40something dude creeping on the teenage girls, my friends and I would have been the Weird Old Dudes at the show. I'm twenty seven years old.
posted by griphus at 7:50 AM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


qwint: You know that MCA's verse on "Professor Booty" is actually a diss to MC Serch and 3rd bass?

Think ya bad-ass Move ya fat-ass
As ya wax-on Dancin' around
Like you think you're janet jackson


It was a response to something 3rd bass said, because they had been signed on def jam as the beastie boys were leaving. The fact that both groups were mostly white was never mentioned.

The beef was spurious, and MCA is dead now.
I don't think serch or mike d actually gave a shit about any of that. Hell, I was never a hammer fan, and there is a picture of me posing with him from a few years ago floating around on the internet.

bpm140: You're better off liking a riffraff track than trying to convince someone that "jump around" isn't just obnoxious frat-boy monkeygarbage! (also check the blockhead link I put up in my first comment, I think its a pretty good discussion of riffraff you might like.)
posted by lkc at 7:53 AM on August 29, 2012


"Your girlfriend's vagina smells like Bumble-Bee tuna."

@_@

No.
posted by deathpanels at 8:33 AM on August 29, 2012


lkc I appreciate your comments and you clearly know a lot about hip hop, but that doesn't change the fact that this song is dope as shit. Who knows if it's as good as something more authentic, but authenticity is not quality, if it even is a thing. I know more about rock and roll music than 99% of human beings, but that doesn't change the fact that Jet's Are You Gonna Be My Girl is a really effective pastiche on a million other R&R tropes done without any acknowledgement that other, better things have come before them. I can't listen to it, but it's a hugely energetic song that does real things to people, and I can see why they like it.

So this is rap for white people that don't usually like rap... so what? Art is not a 0 sum game.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:37 AM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kitty Pryde does have a neat drawl-y flow. Riff is like Eminem for me---technically rock-solid, but somehow not as much room for me to live between the syllables, so not grabbing me the same way. Anyone who insists that Pryde is flashing privilege just by being a white person rapping is henceforth not allowed to listen to any miscegenated music, which is to say any pop music made after 1600 or so.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:48 AM on August 29, 2012


Pryde is displaying privilege in her lyrics, quite consciously I believe, in a genre where security guards steal the identity of crack dealers in order to seem more relatable. It may not be a horrible thing to do, but you certainly can't blame rap fans for treating her like a barbie doll come to life giving a panel discussion at a Feminist Theory conference.

Personally I think it's refreshing to hear someone rap about things they actually care about instead of mimicking the same 10 subjects (grindin, the trap, how great a rapper they are). Riff one the other hand, I have no idea. He's got a unique voice and I enjoy listening to him, but he's also doing this weird winking self-parody that either makes him awesome or awful. "Would it be funny if I got diamonds on this spatula? Let's do it and I'll make a Yogi Bear reference." Just... idk.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:01 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


lkc is on point in here. Kitty Pryde is worth paying attention to in the way that you watch some kids dancing to guitar in their high chairs. It's good and cute, but please as soon as it's turns to wow, they can really dance, then I have to wonder.

There have been countless no-hit wonders who could barely rap, and she's just the latest incarnation. I could care less about her because in an internet year she'll just be a bookmark in some ethnomusicologist's browser.

It grates because a good amount of the dear-god-she-can-rap sunglasses drop rage face panel stuff is from people who may be ignorant of the larger context and experiencing rap for the first time or for the first time outside of the mainstream. But at the same time, that's a good thing because we all had our first forays into things we weren't well-versed in, and made comments that we look back on oh-god-why style.

The more Kitty Pryde feels out her style and does those things that make her unique while simultaneously getting better at the things she doesn't do well, the further she'll go (because lets not kid ourselves, she isn't making these videos and dropping names from time to time with zero eye on fame).

But anyway, the great thing in these threads is the links to artists who are light years ahead of her, both present and past. Someone already linked Joey Bada$$, so I'll just leave some veggies, electronica and Frankenstein.

So this is rap for white people that don't usually like rap... so what?

It's like saying a mefi flag football league player is just an incredible football player, just one of the best in the world,. Look at that catch! Wow! so dope. People who watch the NFL will link dozens of better catches, mention the subtle things better athletes do, and note that an NFL reject would shit all over this player.

The flag football player is good for what they are, just don't get it twisted and act like they are world class at it. And if people are too ignorant to know much about the NFL, that still doesn't stop people from rightfully snickering at someone who says "that flag football player is so FAST!, one of the fastest out there!" when he's running a 6.0 40 time.

I just never have gotten people who don't realize they can like something that sucks in the larger context of things. This song sucked, but I loved it. It was so bad, but I listened to it. This Kitty Pryde song is not that good. It just isn't. It isn't the worst thing in the world, but it is positively not dope as fuck, unless it is in the same way people have seen me play basketball and make Jordan comparisons. And that has happened, but I know that objectively I'm a joke when compared to real basketball players. So let me tell you - Kitty Pryde is a joke when compared to real rappers.
posted by cashman at 9:04 AM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've been listening to the hippety-hop music since before Run-DMC came out with "King of Rock" when I was a high-school freshman, and I think this Kitty Pryde kid has zazz. She's a teenager. I don't expect her to be Wu Tang Clan all by herself. But she comes closer than most.

When I was her age I was a fry cook at McDonalds.
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:47 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


This Kitty Pryde song is not that good. It just isn't.

Man, I wish I had been given one of these "absolute measure of artistic merit" meters that everyone else on the internet seems to have been given.

I have no dog in this fight. I haven't even listened to the videos yet. But I can say that the utterly unexamined notions of "authenticity" that are structuring most of this discussion are just B.S. What's more, despite the obvious good intentions of those marshaling those arguments, they are actually positions that are rooted in a structural racism ("black people's experience is more authentic; they have more soul than white people do" etc. etc.--these are all just variations on the "black folks got rhythm" theme). Great art can come from anywhere: from privilege just as much as from the gutter.
posted by yoink at 9:53 AM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


As usual I agree with everyone here. I don't like to discount her output as an artist or her experience as a human as something less than worthy to rap about. I see people's point that she seems somewhat refreshing. But I also see the point that she is appropriating something, but I can't tell what it is. I think it may be that she is using. for lack of a better term, system of expression, bringing with it all the years of history and baggage, to express a message that is not traditionally associated with that system.

It is like if I started writing sonnets about video games and posting them on the net, I could be deadly serious about it, but people would still take it as some sort of lampoon of sonnets. People might see it, wrongly, as a parody. I just like video games and sonnets, but other people may see it is as the funniest shit ever, Video games! and Sonnets! the contrast is crazy. In this case, shakespeare isn't around, but if he was he might tweet or something "what the fuck is up with that guy writing sonnets about video games"
posted by Ad hominem at 10:08 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hip-hop afficionados tend to be insular and exclusionary in the same way jazz purists can be, or "traditional rock" types who think indie rockers can't sing worth shit or play guitar like, I don't know, Eric Clapton.

So Kitty Pryde can't or won't even try to rap in the way the classic greats do, or even lots of young up-and-comers who have practiced their flows and are technically on point. I agree. But why is being a technically great rapper such an end-all-be-all in hip-hop? Why can't there be the hip-hop equivalent of Pavement (not even pretending Kitty Pryde is equivalent to Pavement, just an illustration) - sounding bored and like she's not even trying, sleepily mumbling her lyrics, and yet still having a certain something that's weirdly engaging? And can't there be different strains and approaches to hip-hop that wildly diverge and have different aims and goals? When I listen to Kitty Pryde I'm not expecting her to sound like KRS-One or Big K.R.I.T. or Doom - these are all vastly different approaches to the genre, and god bless that.

Don't even get me started on the race aspect. Hip-hop is a global phenomenon that can be used to talk about any and all subjects under the sun. Including whatever teenage hipster girls are into.

Stuff like this seems almost guaranteed to tweak genre purists and the authenticity-obsessed, and I have to commend it on that alone.
posted by naju at 10:15 AM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


But you can see the point that shakespeare, or shakespeare fans might say "I sweated over this shit, inventing sonnets and making them popular, you can't just take sonnets to write about video games". I mean the first years of rap people had beefs over which fucking borough created rap. it is kinda part of the DNA.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:29 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I rolled my eyes so hard watching this video and listening to the lyrics that I actually sprained something and now I have to get an eye-sling.

I hope you're happy.
posted by Malice at 10:36 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not a purist (did you listen to that son of bazerk song? wow) or obsessed with authenticity. I'm just saying if were sticking with "There is no accounting for taste", then why have a discussion? There is nothing to discuss. Lil B and One Man Army are just as good as one another. Royce 5'9 and Milk Dee are just as ill as each other. All I think is that there should be an acknowledgement of the level.

If I say Body Count is the one of the great rock bands and The Winners Lose is just incredible, then I would be silly to not expect a challenge of that. However, if I say Body Count isn't the greatest rock band ever but the Winners Lose is a great rock song for me even if it isn't amazing - to me that is fine.

If you're making a case that this song is objectively dope, then yeah, I'm going to call you on it because that has meaning. I think a "for me" would help people who are afraid of having their assertion challenged from having that happen. People say this is an absolutely fantastic work of art (dope as fuck). If you then make a post with these drawings and say they are absolutely fantastic works of art (dope as fuck), do not get defensive when people who are well versed in visual art tell you you are wrong. The drawings (like this song) are good for what they are. But no, this song is not fantastic, though it may be fantastic for you.

I think the nagging problem that is hinted at in a few of these threads is okay - you've said it is dope as fuck. Now say why. And what would likely get named and pointed out would be things (presumably) that non-white artists had done for years, and better, yet not gotten success or recognition or even praise for it. And the reaction would be that there was just something about this artist that "did it". And I think that is where some of the disdain comes in.

Personally I don't have disdain for her. I have disdain for the placement of her at the top, near the top or even on the ladder of dope as fuck artists or songs. But hey, there is no accounting for taste, so why even have this debate. After all, I hate Lil Wayne and think he is one of the worst rappers of all time, so what do I know.
posted by cashman at 10:48 AM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


huh, why were there no accusations of appropriation in the Gangnam Style thread?
posted by desjardins at 10:59 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


But you can see the point that shakespeare, or shakespeare fans might say "I sweated over this shit, inventing sonnets and making them popular, you can't just take sonnets to write about video games"

Well, one would hope (with reasonable expectation) that Shakespeare would know perfectly well that he didn't "invent" sonnets or make them popular.

Pretty much nothing in the world of aesthetic production is "invented" out of whole cloth. There are always predecessors to any example you care to cite--and the predecessors are usually more diverse than later followers realize. Everything draws on what went before--including hip-hop. If the argument "you can't use that unless you're using it in the same way that I would and/or you're of the same race and class than me" were valid, hip-hop would have died in its cradle, given the importance of sampling to the form.

These kinds of arguments are just tedious. For a start, they're always inherently contradictory. The claim that is being advanced is simultaneously one of "appropriation" ("you're doing this thing that doesn't belong to you; you have to stop!") and the claim of "bastardization" or, in this thread, "gentrification" ("you're doing it all wrong!!!"). But if the thing being done is being done "all wrong" then it's clearly something different from the thing alleged to have been "stolen." We could call this the "Elvis" paradox: "OMG, that Elvis is so evil: he just copied exactly what a bunch of black musicians were doing, and made all that money that they should have got." "Yeah, and the thing that is REALLY annoying is that his versions are so whitebread that they're almost completely unrecognizable!!"

But, worse, they're also unbelievably simplistic. If you can find one black person who was doing something similar to what the white person did, then it was clearly "stolen" and clearly really "belongs" to the black person. But if you go looking into the roots of Elvis's music, you find an incredibly complex racial story--like the fact that "Hound Dog" was written by two white urban Jewish dudes. Or the fact that rockabilly has roots that go back into pretty much every form of "country" music in the US--including "black" genres like blues and gospel and so forth, as well as "white" ones like folk songs, mountain gospel, shape note singing, Hollywood "country" etc. But if you peer into the roots of any of these genres that I'm temporarily labeling "white" and "black" you'll find the same inevitable racial melange (there isn't any popular musical genre in the US that isn't inflected here or there with Jewish folk music traditions through the powerful effects of Tin Pan Alley).

The whole notion of genres of art "belonging" to particular races or particular races having some deep genetic affinity for particular styles of an artform is simply offensive. Jazz is another good example. "Jazz"--the word--was almost certainly white slang. The first bands in the nation to be called "Jazz" or "Jass" bands were white bands. Sure, they were playing what they considered to be "black" music; but in fact right from the get-go Jazz is an interracial negotiation around consciously manipulated (and constructed) ideas of "blackness"--many of which are white ideas about blackness that get, in turn, taken up and transformed by black performers. There's no such thing as a pure and purely black "origin" for Jazz music which would render all subsequent white performers derivative. And there's similarly no such thing as a pure and purely "black" rap music that automatically calls into question all subsequent white performers in the genre.
posted by yoink at 11:05 AM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


huh, why were there no accusations of appropriation in the Gangnam Style thread?

non-americans always get a pass for some reason. Iggy Azalea got a pass, with T.I defending her on the radio. Die Antwoord always gets a pass.

I'll leave you guys to it. I'm going to shut up. I like Ellen Degeneres, which might be the most ridiculous song ever.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:07 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really like how you can tell she's smiling when she's rapping.

> Or "there's a beeee I can trrrap, bee bee I can trap".

Close enough!
posted by capricorn at 11:21 AM on August 29, 2012


Well, one would hope (with reasonable expectation) that Shakespeare would know perfectly well that he didn't "invent" sonnets or make them popular.

Ok man I submit. Upthread i just tried to point out some of the history of rap by primarily non-white artists. I buy that it is a global artform, which is why I clearly stated that I, personbally, did not discount Kitty Pryde as an artist.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:23 AM on August 29, 2012


Meh. Slightly crap. Is there an instrumental version?
posted by chillmost at 12:58 PM on August 29, 2012


I was okay with this the first time I heard it, but then again I'd just woken up. Upon a second listen, I'm definitely on the side of cashman and lkc. This is an abominable affront to mankind.
posted by desjardins at 2:49 PM on August 29, 2012


I dunno hip hop, but she's getting better. There's more flow and less shoving too many syllables into a line because it reads well on this, compared to Justin Bieber.

I'll never know what to think about Kitty Pride because she always sounds like she just woke up next to you in bed and she's cutely asking if you really have to leave to go to work.
posted by subdee at 4:49 PM on August 29, 2012


Scratch in bed, that was unnecessary. What I mean is that there's not necessarily anything sexual about it, except that the way Kitty Pryde raps is hyper-feminine. It's the voice girls use when they want something from their SOs. I have mixed feelings about it, because on the one hand Third Wave feminism, why should we automatically discount and belittle things that are "girly", why should female rappers always have to have a tough and strong image, why can't they have a girly image and rap about their insecurities. But on the other hand, that want-something-from-guys voice is the product of an unequal power structure.

Anyway those are my thoughts on Kitty Pryde. She sounds, less like someone who practices the flow other rappers have on hip hop records, and more like someone who is used to getting a reaction from the sound of her voice. Maybe she plays MMORPGs on headsets with guys who constantly give her grief, but secretly all have crushes on her. *And* she raps! I think she'll probably only improve.

/projection
posted by subdee at 5:21 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


@subdee

Yo, what?
posted by MetalFingerz at 6:33 PM on August 29, 2012


huh, why were there no accusations of appropriation in the Gangnam Style thread?

Cuz the korean dude has dude-parts between his legs... duh.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:41 PM on August 29, 2012


It's the voice girls use when they want something from their SOs.

I just listened to this track again (well, except for the Riff Raff part, because he sucks ass) as well as the track in the original FPP about her, and holy crap you are totally right. That's the "can you climb out of bed and drive across town and give me a ride to my friend's house?" voice.

And that's not a criticism of her -- from the little I've heard I like her music; and some of the artists I really like (including Eminem and the Die Antwoord people) have that hint of a nasal edge going gimme gimme gimme in their voices. Hell, it's no different than Black Flag's Gimme Gimme Gimme, and that's musical genius. For values of "genius" including being young, dumb, and angry.
posted by Forktine at 7:52 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah! That's the specific thing that gets me about Kitty Pryde. Sociological nonsense aside, I can never decide if I like it in female punk singers, either. (In pop you just expect it though.)
posted by subdee at 8:16 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having has 24 hours to get used to this, and despite it being so far from what I would choose to listen to, I like it in the sense that it captures the spirit of the age (oh, if only there was a smarter world for that).

Really, Tumblr-wave is the perfect lable of this music.

Plus, I watched a behind the scenes video of Kitty, and she seems to understand where it's at.
posted by Mezentian at 3:15 AM on August 30, 2012


And what the hell are those kids doing at about 1'24? They seem to be stroking some sort of game, but why?
posted by Mezentian at 4:49 AM on August 30, 2012


As delmoi pointed out:

Kind of a strange video until you realize they're all supposed to be tripping.

I believe they are tripping on acid or shrooms and that's kind of a normal reaction.
posted by lizarrd at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh god.
Now it makes sense.
Thanks!
posted by Mezentian at 5:23 PM on August 30, 2012


Theyre not the only one tripping up in here.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:28 PM on August 30, 2012


Been listening to a bunch of hip hop this evening. Gave this song another chance. It's still mediocre. The video is pretty though. That seems to be a theme with fair to poor hip hop these days. The vocal performance may be weak but still the beat is good and visuals are somewhat interesting.
posted by cashman at 9:59 PM on August 30, 2012


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