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Anorak | White Rapper Kreayshawn Aims To Be The Marketable Amy Winehouse

White Rapper Kreayshawn Aims To Be The Marketable Amy Winehouse

by | 2nd, August 2011

CAN the self-aggrandizing artist known as Kreayshawn – aka Natassia Gail Zolot – become a brand on the strength of one song?

The Oakland-based white (tick) female (tick) rapper (tick) has signed a $1 million recording contract on the strength of one self-released single.

She’s 5-foot, 1-inch. She has brightly coloured tattoos. She wears pumps on her feet. She is petite. She gives good copy. Indeed, dear readers, you are watching the birth of Amy Winehouse 2 – the one you can hang in the showroom and flog to death. Wino never did get her own range of knickers and perfumes.

Kreayshawn is is wearing her sunglasses indoors when Women’s Wear Daily meets her.

A film school dropout who has lived in Oakland, Calif., for half her life, Kreayshawn launched her rap career in earnest on a Monday in May with a music video on YouTube. The song “Gucci Gucci” — an infectious swipe at unoriginal girls in fancy clothes: “Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada” — caught fire. Filmed on and around Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, the amateur though impressively polished video presents a fantasy of the artsy West Coast twentysomething life. Boys on skateboards pass blunts around; tattooed girls in improbably glam thrift-store outfits wave their cell phones and boxes of cigarettes around on the street. It was a hit.

Ker-ching!

Says she:

“People be like, ‘oh, that’s that white rapper’. I don’t like the sound of that. That sounds hella whack to me — white girl rapper. I’m an artist.”

Kreayshawn calls to mind the confused girl on the Number 73 bus affecting the Jamaican patois of the Islington estates to impress her mates. Innit though?

“Most of the haters are just miseducated. At the same time they’re the people who are like, ‘I hate what’s on the radio and I hate that all of everything is fabricated.’ But then something like me comes out that’s organic — that’s new and fresh — and they hate that, too.”

Organic. Tick. She talks the language of the marketing department.

She arrives an hour late to the interview because she got held up with a few young girls outside the station who thought she was Lady Gaga. She decided to take photos with them anyway. “It’s just like, ‘What the f–k you want?’” she continues. “‘Why don’t you go make a song and listen to yourself and shut the f–k up, you know?’ S–t.” She is wearing cutoff Levi’s jean shorts, white Air Jordans and a Matt Groening for Comme des Garçons T-shirt covered in Simpsons characters.

She is a walking gallery:

“If anything, I’m an artist. I do all kinds of things.”

Such as…

On her hand she has a tattoo of a telephone dialpad, an idea she came up with while she was “super high” and working as an interior landscaper, one of many odd jobs she’s held to fund what she calls her “art goon” lifestyle. She’s also worked at Starbucks and Ikea and sold prescription stimulants to college students.

An interior landscaper? Just how big are her client’s houses?

“I was like, ‘I bet nobody has ever thought of that,’” she says about the phone tattoo. “There can’t be one person in this world who’s thought of that, so that night I went and got it.”

Anything else?

Kreayshawn didn’t finish high school, but she charmed her way into the Digital Film Institute at Berkeley though she couldn’t get a loan and didn’t have money to pay her tuition. “At the time I was reading this book, like, ‘Creative Process Thinking’ and it teaches you how to, like, manifest your own destiny by pre-conceptualizing things like it already happened,” she remembers.

Noel Edmonds might nod. He might also nod to this:

“When I was younger, growing up in the ‘hood, being the only white girl, like, there’s time when you’re like shit, it sucks being white, you know?”

But being a white female rapper might well chime in the record stores…



Posted: 2nd, August 2011 | In: Music Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink