Dec. 30, 2011
Having been to more shows than I can count in 2011, last night's Kreayshawn gig at the Observatory in Santa Ana was definitely was one of my most eagerly anticipated of the year. With all the hype (both good and bad) that surrounded the pint-sized rapper, I was sure of one thing: that the Oakland-born, Los Angeles-based director-come-MC would be nothing short of eventful.
Leading into the show, I wasn't sure what was real and was hype. However, the rapper unquestionably was one of the biggest surprises in music this year. She managed to snare a MTV Video Music Award nomination for "Gucci Gucci," which viewed 28 million times on YouTube (!!!) and thus parlayed into a multi-million dollar record deal with Columbia Records. Pretty amazing, considering that she'd only released one song to date. Despite her legion of haters that include Lil Wayne, Game and Rick Ross, Kreayshawn was one of the biggest stories in hip-hop this past year.
The second to last night of the year showed what the future could hold for her, and it wasn't pretty.
For starters, our five things to watch from this show was on-point. Unless you were a girl between 18 and 22, the show was pretty weak. The energy inside the packed venue was upbeat and the crowd was terrific, but the performance, well, left a lot to be desired.
Clad in geeky glasses, a cap bearing her name that a fan threw on stage, an Oakland Raiders shirt and short shorts, Kreayshawn looked like the bizarro Lady Gaga. It was a look that, oddly enough, was replicated by a number of her fans.
Over the night, she had a ton of energy and seemed to appreciate her fans, even inviting them on stage for a dance. However, her honesty and appreciation of the paying customer was the only redeeming aspect of her performance.
Her fellow White Girl Mob gal V-Nasty was the one who carried the show, even though she wasn't the headliner. V-Nasty's raps will never be confused with Eminem's, but at least she demanded your attention when she got on the mic, which you couldn't say about the lead MC. The only time there was any sense of excitement was when the sidekick took centerstage. (At least you didn't zone out!)
The set was brisk, clocking in around 36 minutes. This is more than acceptable for someone who doesn't have a lot of material, but on the other hand, it's hard to discern if the rapper is nothing more than an Internet sensation who struck lightning in a bottle with "Gucci, Gucci" or actually has talent to succeed in hip-hop.
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Before last night, I only knew the legend of Kreayshawn based on what I've heard. By the end, I couldn't understand the fuss about her. Usually hip-hop lyrics have a point, or are at least fun, but neither was the case here. In fact, you could argue that she makes Wiz Khalifa as lyrically and socially conscious as Chuck D. when compared to her ridiculous rhymes. If last night's gig is a sign of what's to come on her album, then the rapper better go back to her career behind the camera, where she is better suited and probably more comfortable.
Critical Bias: Kreayshawn has a long ways to go if she wants to be taken seriously. I can't believe that song has 28 million views, it's shocking what's she's been able to achieve with it.
The Crowd: See above.
Random Notebook Dump: When seeing a new rapper live, you would think that the opening acts wouldn't be people who couldn't compete at your high school talent show.