Kitty Pryde, Viral Tumblr Star, Keeps It Real By Rapping About Her Boy Crushes
White girl rappers are a tough sell. Ask Uffie, Kreayshawn, and Iggy Azalea. The vitriol thrown their way -- whether deserved or not -- tends to stem from the question, "What do white girls know about hip-hop?"
That's why Kitty Pryde, a Daytona Beach native, seems to differ from her peers. She gets plenty of hate, but critics love her -- and it's easy to see why.
Rapping about Justin Bieber, bad boy crushes, and Bud Light and lime, Pryde seems authentic. She's not necessarily the sharpest shooter in the rap game, but no one can accuse her of being fake.
The title of her first EP was The Lizzie McGuire Experience. Take a moment and let that sink in.
Over it? Great.
Even with her second EP, Haha, I'm Sorry, Pryde is just being herself. And with major acclaim coming from publications like Vice, Fader, and, yes, even The New York Times, she might just be the next big thing. But even if she isn't, she's seems perfectly OK with that. She just wants you to know she's got a life beyond her Tumblr page.
We spoke to Pryde over the phone, which when we dialed her number a voice came over the line telling us to "Enjoy this ring back tone while you wait to be connected." We hoped it would be Bieber's latest single, "Boyfriend." But we should have expected more from Pryde ... who always seems to keep us guessing.
New Times: By the way, I like your ring back tone there. It's very classy.
Kitty Pryde: ( Laughs ) Aw, it was an accident
Yeah, but now it makes me look super classy, so I just leave it.
It does! When I heard it going off I thought it was going to be a Justin Bieber song.
That's what I was hoping it was. But it wasn't, so...
It used to be Talking Heads but then it expired, and they won't let me take off the classical one unless I buy another one, so I'm just trying to decide.
Well thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I know you're probably really busy, especially with the latest wave of internet fame. How has the onslaught of publicity been? How have you handled it?
I think that I haven't really ... like it's all online; it's not in real life really. So it hasn't affected my real life that much. I had to take some time off from my job because it was getting a little ... like people were coming in and saying stuff and my boss was like, "This is a little distracting." Other than that, it's not like I walk through the street and people recognize me. It doesn't happen very much, so it's pretty normal. If I wanna escape from it I just get off the computer and it's fine. It hasn't gotten terrible or anything.
I mean the last person in Florida who I would say was internet famous, probably for the wrong reasons was -- I don't know if you remember her -- Jessi Slaughter.
Oh my God, I love Jessi Slaughter! I think she's so ... I found her blog today and she's a huge mess right now. It's really sad.
Yeah, it's a little sad. But you're actually the complete opposite. You've got your shit together, it seems like it.
But I mean you've obviously embraced stuff like Tumblr -- even Vice called you Tumblr-wave. Is that really important to you, the way you communicate and release your music?
Well, I mean it should. Although it's just like a thing. I don't know. I got more into it after my boyfriend broke up with me and I had all of these mean things to say about him and I was like, "I'm just gonna talk about him on the Internet because none of my real friends wanna hear it anymore." They were just sick of hearing me complain. I mean if I thought of some funny diss for my boyfriend, I would write it on my blog, and eventually I just started making friends on Tumblr.
People make it out to be like this part of my life that I'm always online, always on my blog, but it's really not true at all. So people kind of blew my whole Tumblr thing out of proportion. And people really are not about Tumblr-wave. The big hip-hop heads are really upset at that name and are, "I can't believe this is becoming a genre." And I'm like, "Well, sorry." I think it's important with my music, but in my life, it's not like my life revolves around Tumblr like everyone says it does.
I think people are connecting with you because you don't try to pretend to be somebody you aren't. You are very forward, and you communicate the way I think girls your age communicate these days. What do you think?
I mean, I hope so. That's kind of the point. I think that the one thing that's making people really upset is that I'm not a conventional, I guess, rapper? When people call me "rapper" people get mad and say, "She's not a rapper." And I'm like, "Well, why can't I be?" I mean, I thought the whole point of hip-hop was keeping it real, and I don't really have drugs and sex to be talking about so I just kinda talk about having crushes on boys, and I thought that that was keeping it real. I hope people can relate to it.
Probably the biggest prop that I think for keeping it real you got was probably from the New York Times. I mean you can't get a bigger publication than the New York Times. How was that? They basically compared you to Karmin as an example of somebody who might not be keeping it too real and that you were. How was it seeing that?
I honestly didn't even know that that was gonna come out. It was a big surprise. I think the New York Times tagged me in a tweet and was, "Here's an article featuring this girl." I was like, "What the fuck?" And then I don't know. It made [Karmin] look kinda bad and I couldn't really tell what they were trying to say about Karmin. I think... I don't know. I don't even know what the question was. I'm just kinda talking.
Another mystery about you is your age and how old you actually are. I think something everybody can agree on is that you're probably under 21. I'm not even gonna ask you because I think I know the answer and you're not gonna tell me. Do you think that's sort of half the fun of it?
That's all of the fun of it. I think it's hilarious because, I mean, it's really obvious. And there's some things that, everybody knows that everything that happens in my life I write it down in my blog. It's somewhere on the Internet. I'm super open about everything. Anyone can find any little fact about me and they can go back in my blog and find any little personal thing to get upset over and try to get in the way. People try to find ways to call me racist and sexist and all sorts of things and finding like little pieces on my blog. But they haven't gone back to see the pictures from my birthday to see what I say exactly how old I was turning. I just think it's funny and it's a mystery. And it makes it different when people want to interpret things. Like the things I say, they all have different meanings depending on how old you think I am. I'm definitely way under 21, so yeah. I'm not secretly some adult performance artist or anything. I think that it's fun, and I think that it's funny that Time magazine didn't even do enough research to get my age right.
(The Time magazine article says she's 17, citing this February 2012 Tumblr post, but Fuse says she's 19.)
I mean, that being said, a lot people think you're as young as 13.
Oh my God, that's ridiculous.
If I had to guess, I'd say you're between the ages of 16 and 18. Maybe now I will go back and look at pictures of your birthday and figure it out myself. Do you ever get creepy messages from men thinking you're underage?
I haven't really gotten a whole lot directly to me but I think that people are worried that they're gonna get in trouble because of how young I am. I don't get a lot personally sent to me, but I see a lot of things like posts generally of me where guys are like, "I feel like I'm too old to be watching this," and then they'll be like, "Oh dude, she's really hot, I'd hit that, but I don't know if I can say that." So I think it's funny that nobody really sends me messages. I just think they're too scared.
Yea, I think that says something that men are obsessed with how young you possibly are.
I ask you this just because I want to know, but I know some women might take it, oh, "You wouldn't ask a man that." But I'm just curious because I haven't seen anyone ask you, but you write all your own material, right?
Oh, of course yeah. I wish someone would ask me that because I want everyone to know. If it sucks, it's because I'm personally sucking; and if you hate it, it's all me. There's nobody revising my lyrics or anything. I literally just write them all myself. It's not like there's some big media conglomerate behind me.
What do you have in the works? Are there record labels going after you?
Actually, there is. I don't really know the extent of it because I don't really deal with it personally. I have a manager who's also, but he's only barely than more experienced than I am, so were both crazy overwhelmed. But there's been like a lot of interest. I've just been working on music and getting all excited about stuff. Personally, in the works, I have a bunch more music that I'm ready to record and do everything with. But label wise? It's still secret. Nobody wants to say anything. I won't give up any secrets 'cause I'll get in trouble.
Any collaborations? Any artists who have talked about working with you?
I've done a song and a video with Riff Raff. I'm not sure when that's coming out, but I know it's gonna be really, really soon. And the song is gonna be on my EP [ Haha, I'm Sorry ], so that's going to come out too. And the video is coming out through Vice and that should be next week.
And I think that everybody knows that me and Danny Brown have become friends like completely. He's on tour right now so it will be a while before he can do anything, but maybe I can convince him to do some stuff with me. And I've also been talking to Yoni Wolf from Why? and hopefully we'll get to do something together, too.
Talking about releasing new music, are you approaching it any differently now with the success of "Okay Cupid?" Are you nervous? Do you worry about matching the success or the interest that "Okay Cupid" generated?
Truthfully, I'm not really worried about it. Every so often, I'll be like, "Wow. I hope that this isn't my like ..." I don't really like that song very much so I'm like, "I can't believe that everybody is talking about this one. Why didn't they listen to a different one?" But I don't think that will ever really happen again. That's kind of a one-time thing to have the New York Times writing about your song.
I don't really know, but I'm not doing anything any differently I guess the way that I'm releasing I have to go about it a little bit differently because it's a wider audience that's expecting me to get to me. And it's not just the people who read my blog. The people on my Tumblr would be like, "Oh, come out with a new song," and I would be like, "Alright," and post it on my blog. Now there's people that aren't even on Tumblr that are waiting for it, so I have to be a little bit more organized. But I'm not gonna like sell out. I don't wanna make it so that oh sorry guys now you have to pay a bunch of money for my music. I'm not gonna do that, but it'll still be pretty DIY.
Are you excited that Justin Bieber is going on tour? Are you gonna catch him live?
I think it sold out already! ( Laughs )
Yeah! I heard that they were like 45 each or something, and they all sold out. And I was like, "Oh fuck, now I'm out."
He won't be in Miami until January, so we won't review him until then. But are you going come to Miami anytime soon?
Well, I gotta get a passport, so I'm probably gonna have to go to the passport office eventually since it's the closest thing to Orlando. Isn't that ridiculous? I don't have any shows booked in Miami. But my boyfriend lives down there, so if there are like any events or something I'll just probably go. I don't really have a whole 'lotta shows. I don't have some big tour lined up or anything. I just got one show. That's it. (Since our interview, Pryde actually went to New York to pick up her passport in order to get ready for some European shows.)
Have you've done a lot of live performances?
Um, no! I've done like six. They were all either in smoky bars or my friend's backyard.
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