Better than ... basic bitches.
In May, L.A.-by-way-of-the-Bay video director/rapper Kreayshawn released "Gucci Gucci," a bubblegum-sticky track that's racked up 13 million views on YouTube and become the song of the summer. Bloggers immediately fired off questions that set the Internet ablaze: Can she rap? Does she write? Is she for real (read our contribution to that discussion here)? And, as she set out on a small tour, would she be any good live?
Back in March, when Kreayshawn was known only as a quirky, cat-eyed associate of the master of the Internet, Berkeley rapper Lil B, we included her in our list of five rappers to catch at SXSW. But after seeing footage of her show in London, we second-guessed that decision.
Earlier this summer, she told us only about ten people showed up at that SXSW performance. Last night, she sold out The Roxy (though it felt pretty roomy in there), and we finally got some answers.
Verdict? The show was incredibly fun. L.A. audiences tend to be a little cool, and yes, the VIP area was filled with folded arms. But crushed against the stage was a squealing, sweaty mass of mostly young, mostly female fans whose hands never left the air. "Where my hoes at?" Kreayshawn prompted. They replied till their throats were raspy.
In fact, the crowd's enthusiasm eclipsed that of Kreayshawn and crew mate Lil Debbie. Their hype man, however, had an energy reminiscent of opener Speak's set.
Rapper Speak took the stage like a '70s rock god at Woodstock, arms outstretched like a hippie healer. He whipped the audience into a lather. After thrashing through his set like a Tasmanian devil, he and his hypeman, Cashius Green, brought out Pheo for "Angelina's Beemer," a song whose bounce rivals that of "Gucci Gucci." Their synergy was magnetic, and soon the stage was swarming with barely-legal girls.
While Kreayshawn doesn't have that kind of electricity, she seemed much more comfortable onstage than we expected, from watching her previous concert footage. Dressed in a tiny crop top, rose-printed leggings, and a two-tone, tightly curled wig, she strolled onstage and seemed buoyed by the audience's enthusiasm. She started with "Rich Whores," a forgettable new song that finds her actually much closer to her original "based" flow. She really came alive, however, when she dipped into her old Kittys and Choppas mixtape, the only full-length she's released so far. "Wavy" and "God Bless This Doobie" were easily the early highlights.
And then, she brought out a special guest, V-Nasty. In contrast to Lil Debbie and Kreayshawn's teensy-tight outfits, V-Nasty wore a baggy black t-shirt, cut-off camo shorts, and what looked like a Jerm Jilla creation, our favorite to date: a still life of lean ingredients. We know we're gonna take some shit for this, because V-Nasty, who is white, has tossed the word "n*gga" around unapologetically. But she stole the show--there's a reason she didn't come out until a third of the way through. Extremely confident and relaxed on the mic, she sold herself without even trying. Our eyes didn't leave her once, and now, won't. Consider yourself warned.
The set was extremely short (as Ben Westhoff tweeted, "That was a fun way to spend 38 minutes"). But that's understandable, because Kreayshawn only has a few songs at this point--or one, if you ask the general public, and she made them happy by performing it twice. Haters, hate to disappoint you, but we'll be back for more.
Personal bias: Ladies is pimps, too.
The crowd: Drunk high school girls with bare midriffs and aging male hipsters makes for a kinda creepy mix--oh, wait, VICE was filming the show.
Random notebook dump: Shout out to the shot-calling twelve-year-old kid doing work from his iPhone. Lil Debbie: meeee-owww.
Set list after the break.
God Bless This Doobie
Ghost in a Shell
What's my Name - V-Nasty
I'm a Real Bitch - V-Nasty
Swobbin - V-Nasty
Summertime - Kreayshawn Feat V-Nasty
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Kitty So Tight
Gucci Gucci (twice)