I can’t remember if it was the Streets or Lady Sovereign, but the first rap album I ever bought was definitely by a white British person. Most of my high school years were marked by a dogged Anglophilia, and I spent a lot of time on the internet making sure that my tastes aligned with what cool people in the UK were into. Lady Sovereign was presented to me as a bit of a joke, so of course I had to find her hilarious. I knew absolutely nothing about rap/hip-hop at the time, but I could recognize that she was a fairly talented MC, and she became a guilty pleasure for me. She had a song called “Sad Arse Stripper.” I think I even bought the 7″ of the Ordinary Boys’ cover/remix of her song “9 to 5.” (Remember when Preston walked off Never Mind The Buzzcocks?) I lost interest by the time her second album came out, but maybe I should give it a chance.
I first heard about Amanda Blank via one feminist blog or another gushing over how “Might Like You Better” was a great song showing an assertive woman taking charge of her sexuality. That’s definitely a part of it, but it’s also way catchy and includes the lines “Want to hold you, get to know you/Show you what I got in my sweater, baby,” which will probably never stop being funny to me. I can’t really say that I was particularly impressed with Ms. Blank’s debut album I Love You–only a few songs stood out to me, but the ones that did, I really, really loved. Her unabashed nastiness was a great fit for the Major Lazer collaboration.
Yo-Landi Vi$$er of Die Antwoord
You know the deal: South African performance artists start rap group, make a bunch of really strange videos, go viral, end up with Interscope deal–they’re actually pretty good rappers! My favorite way to describe Yo-Landi Vi$$er is something along the lines of “she’s totally adorable, but she also looks like she could bludgeon you with a lead pipe.” I’m in awe of her ability to work that futuristic mullet haircut and spit multi-lingual rhymes.
When a press release mentioned that K.Flay went to Stanford, I had to check her out. (My [Stanford] college town upbringing makes me subconsciously gravitate toward well-educated musicians, sometimes I just have to embrace it.) At my first listen to “No Duh,” my reaction was, “White lady Das Racist?” K.Flay has the humor and the intelligence and the pop culture references, but her songs often take on a much more personal tone. She tends to play up her rock influences, but also knows her way around a Black Eyed Peas sample.
Yes, this has been the inevitable lead-up to Kreayshawn. I know I probably shouldn’t like “Gucci Gucci,” but it’s been stuck in my head for days. It’s totally infectious, from the woozy bass to the hook “One big room, full of bad bitches.” Kreayshawn’s flow works for her, and, as has been widely noted, this song features the lines “I got the swag and it’s pumpin’ out my ovaries” and “I’m snatching all your bitches at my leisure.” It would be easy enough to dismiss her as not really being my thing, but “Gucci Gucci” keeps insisting on being catchy.