Pop Cult

Pop Cult – May 24th, 2012 (Kitty Pryde)

Allen Huang / May 24, 2012

Fear of a White Girl Planet

Kitty Pryde – “Okay Cupid”: 2 Week Suspension

If you read an article talking about Florida-based internet sensation teen-girl giggle-rapper Kitty Pryde (of which there have been many), you’ll get your typical half-baked dossier along with the author’s interpretation of her act. But if you keep scrolling down, you’ll understand her true purpose: comment after furious comment about how “you’ve got to be kidding me” and “I weep for the world,” usually topped off by the requisite “I’ve read [insert rap blog here] all my life and this is a new low.” It’s a tsunami of unilateral rap-purist outrage, calling for the girl’s head on a pike, blaming everything from Vice Magazine to Lil B to Adam’s extra rib for what seems to be the worst crime ever committed to tape.

Yes, her persona is a character (no she is not 13 years old), and yes these are “cloudy” beats (produced by Beautiful Lou, who appears on A$AP Rocky’s mixtape). But Kitty Pryde’s tossed off, pre-pubsecent verses hardly tarnish the vaunted spirit of hip-hop. In fact, it seems fitting that she would choose to express teenage girl naivete in rap form. Hip-hop has always been and continues to be a culture movement. But the days have long gone since the movement was limited solely to race and class. “Okay Cupid” is a fumbled, corny, but effective lateral juke, bringing playful ideas of gender and youth to the table. If Odd Future is for dumb male teenagers, Kitty Pryde is their equal female counterpart.

Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea are often trotted out as modern examples of successful female rap. But while their acts are “refreshing” in the sense that, yes, they all have two X chromosomes, masculinity still makes up a large part of their style. Kitty’s persona is completely devoid of confrontation, actively disavowing the aggression and the strength that other female rappers are praised for. Her verses do not strike, rather they flit awkwardly over miasmic beats that never quite fit the subject matter. Kitty Pryde simply posits that women don’t have to be FIERCE and STRONG and BAD B**CHES to make hip-hop. And somehow this makes people very angry.

I’m not in love with this song and I’m not convinced of the stickiness of her act. But I do recognize this: she’s making rap music that is specifically not for the dude who reads 2DopeBoyz and Fader and regularly engaging in forum arguments about Earl Sweatshirt’s future prospects and whether Lil Wayne is finished. And when sites like that do give Kitty Pryde a little traction, these loyal fans’ precious world is infringed upon and they see it only right that they defend hip-hop’s ”honor,” typically in 140 characters or less. And it gives me some joy, personally, to see such a boys’ club disenfranchised in such a manner.

Kitty Pryde might not know about rap’s colorful history. She might just be some dumb teenager, too obsessed with her Tumblr and Danny Brown to actually contribute anything of worth to culture or society. But the true entertainment doesn’t lie in the music, it lies in the dialogue. It’s obvious from her interactions with these commenters, the community that decides what is and isn’t “good rap,” that she thoroughly understands the effect her “music” has on them. So when you scoff and ask “is she in on the joke?” the answer is yes, as long as you know that the joke is on you.

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