When the curtains opened on The Roxy’s stage for Kreayshawn’s sold-out Hollywood gig Saturday night, the already ecstatic audience was greeted with footage of the Oakland rapper’s increasingly familiar face. Over a doom-dipped, chopped, and screwed version of her other web hit “Bumpin Bumpin” (a measly 3.4 million views compared to the 13.5 amassed by “Gucci Gucci”), her image chatted into the camera, mean-mugged, and grinned, and wore a handful of different expressions, jewels and hair styles all obviously aiming (pandering perhaps) for the iconic. No doubt for most of the crowd, this was the only way the YouTube star had previously existed: in 2-D, sometimes grainy, sometimes in focus, always oddly photogenic in a junk culture, ironic thrifting, general loudness kind of way. And then, she materialized.
“Ya’ll bitches better get funky!” the 21-year-old half yelled, half mumbled, but the bitches (so to speak) were already ten steps ahead of her, screaming and pushing at one another to get closer to their sudden messiah, dressed as she was in rose-printed leggings, a T-shirt chopped just above the underwire, and a carefully coiffed two-tone pile of white waves and black curls.
Kreayshawn’s White Girl Mob affiliate DJ Lil Debbie — she of the eternal rattail and hoop earrings — posed, slouched, and strutted at her side. An extremely hyped hype man had a fantastic case of happy feet as he danced them into the newer track “Rich Whores,” to which the fans in the front already knew every word. (Especially that rapturously aggro outburst, “What up, bitch?!”) It was dedicated to Kreay’s “hoes in the secondhand clothes.”
From there, it was onto her 2010 mixtape, Kittys X Choppas, for the considerably more Based (read: loopy, anarchich and surreally braggadocious à la her homie Lil B) “Wavey” and the supremely stoney “God Bless This Doobie.” In iTunes, those songs are reminders that while Kreayshawn does have a style, she doesn’t “style” in the sense of good rappers mashing their rhymes into increasingly complex schemes and deliveries. She has one mode: the kinda whiny, sorta annoying, really infectious, totally energizing pied piper of quasi-ghetto weirdness (which, as a Bay Area thing, is more legit than it sounds). And in person, it worked, especially as she ploughed into another new track, “Ghost in a Shell,” which felt like a potential club crossover masquerading as just another money-and-weed joint.
But the in-crowd amplitude went to 11 when controversial White Girl mobster V-Nasty emerged, head partly shaved in contrastingly baggy garb, sporting a glittery Jerm Jilla neckpiece depicting her drink/drug of choice — sizzurp, natch. The cheering was nearly constant for the next four Nasty-led songs, hitting a fevered pitch with the wilding, crew-touting banger “Swobbin.” (For those paying attention, that’s a kinda brilliant portmanteau of swaggin’ and mobbin’ — two things WGM claim to be all about — though bonus points should be awarded for next track’s equally apropos chorus: “It’s summertime and your bitch is on my mind.”) The willfully bizarre clothing choices and even stranger hyper-masculine femininity emanating from the stage felt like something dreamed up in a Florida trailer park.
Finally, all the building froth and steam blew with “Gucci Gucci,” a song so powerful, with such an insanely tight vise grip over that fraction of the blogosphere amassed in The Roxy (also made real at last, her sudden acolytes), that Kreayshawn performed it twice in a row. And instead of being put off by such a showy display, the audience rushed the stage where they proceeded to completely freak out — bouncing, stripping, cooking, and flipping into the crowd — until the music was done and they were forced bodily from the limelight by the venue’s security.
It was intensely electric. It was a sign that Kreayshawn and her posse aren’t done with us yet. And it was, to paraphrase, a medium-sized room, full of bad bitches.
“God Bless This Doobie”
“Ghost in a Shell”
“What’s My Name”
“I’m a Real Bitch”
“Kitty So Tight”