Live: Kreayshawn Lets V-Nasty Steal Her Show At The Highline Ballroom


Kreayshawn
Highline Ballroom
Thursday, August 18

Better than: no other concert I've ever been to, and I've been to a lot.

Maybe Kreayshawn is hip-hop's Andy Kaufman, a high-concept satirist pulling an elaborate cultural prank with her sister V-Nasty acting as the crowd-baiting Tony Clifton. Maybe she's misunderstood, an artist to be looked at—years from now—as a genius. Watch it through that light as Kreayshawn putters around the stage in her mom-jean shorts, muttering her quasi-lyrics while staring downward and flipping her arms up like a parking lot gate. That's her statement on performance as an artform; that's her stretching the boundaries. When she opens up a song—her third, "Wavey"—by meowing repeatedly and drooling out non-sequiturs, those aren't the untended musings of a stoner; they're the scrawlings of a modern-day Picasso.

Or maybe, and more probably, this was an exercise in how far down rock bottom can be.

Being at the Highline Ballroom last night gave me Vietnam flashbacks to her show one month ago at The Box, an endless nightmare that lasted fourteen minutes. (Sony, in signing her for so much money, raised expectations too high; not her fault as much as it is her record label's.) Her Highline concert was, therefore, branded as her first 'official' show in New York, a PR spin move after her actual debut didn't go over so well. So, fine: she swung, she missed, she took a mulligan, and now we're trying again.

But even if the Etch-a-Sketch had been shaken, things hadn't changed. Gone is her mystique, replaced by interviews focused around the N-word and V-Nasty's incorrect usage of it. Kreayshawn recited a verse from her song "Left Eye" on Cosmic Kev's radio show, never quite finding her rhythm, or any rhythm for that matter. The Red Hot Chili Peppers shot a big-budget music video with Kreayshawn in the director's chair; it was scrapped in favor of something else. Her million-dollar record deal seems even dumber with each passing day.

Last night, the most exciting rapper to watch was the DJ, and he didn't even have a microphone. Kreayshawn wandered as if in the halls of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, left-foot, right-foot walking. She rapped as if on training wheels: "We'll put you in the trunk, the white girl trunk," over an invisible snap beat—a shitty trapeze artist without a net. Her shoulders were sunken, her chin hid her neck, blasé glazed over her eyes. Kreayshawn rapped like Silkk the Shocker, talking over her doubles at a different speed than they'd been recorded. She was most comfortable while lost in the scrum that was her finale, a dance party to "Saturday Love," joined by all of the other acts from the night as if it were a curtain call on Broadway. (When a girl threw her bra onstage, the sisters and their token Brother dove for it like it were a bouquet. V-Nasty curdled: "It's sweaty!" Kreayshawn wore it on her head.) Did I mention that she performed "Gucci Gucci" twice in a row? No? Oh. Well, that happened.

Her set at the Box was made up of four copies of the same song: chanted chorus, tick-tock rhyme patterns, 8-bit beats. Last night, though, she performed "Pick It Up," three minutes of dusted-off Ace of Base memories that could maybe play in MTV's Spring Break House in 1993. She sort of groaned, "You are my obsession. You are my fantasy." (I'd heard word that Sony is trying to turn her into a pop star rather than a one-trick rapper. Her voice and spine aren't strong enough in person, but studio magic could make her a diva, I suppose.)

It wasn't difficult, but V-Nasty stole the show. Her doing so wasn't the result of being surprised by watching YouTube in person; it was because she has charisma, a quality her higher-profile sister makes up for in self-awareness. It was uncomfortable to watch as V-Nasty high-stepped around Kreayshawn's latest hypeman—a Nick Cannon-type trying to pull off Tyler, the Creator moves with a smile. (It's all good that V-Nasty says the N-word; there's a black man!) She strutted at the front of the stage, smile wide and hip cocked, grasping at fans' hands while Kreayshawn hid in the shadows. She had been one-upped, completely and totally, when V-Nasty jumped into the adoring front three rows. (I compared it to when Kanye came out during Big Sean's show; a writer felt my thought was correct, though blasphemous.)

When Kreayshawn walked out onstage last night, I looked for improvement, any improvement. Even with the slimmest expectations, I was disappointed. ("Left Eye" is better, but not great.) She may not have a follow-up to "Gucci Gucci," but she has put out two shitty performances in a row.

Critical bias: I try not to kick while someone's down. I really do. I find no enjoyment in this.

Overheard: "I need another beer."

Overheard II: "You say you're all Kreayshawn fans, but y'all not dancing or nothing!"—the hypeman, after "High"

Overheard III: "V-Nasty is a problem." "In a good way?" "(Uncontrollable laughter.)"

Random notebook dump: I don't know anymore. I just don't know.

Set list (some of these songs are unreleased, so titles might not be correct):
Pop That Dick Up
Rich Whores
Wavey
High
Pour It Up, Light It Up
What's My Name (with V-Nasty)
I'm a Real Bitch (with V-Nasty)
Swaggin & Mobbin (Swobbin) (with V-Nasty)
Summertime
Left Eye
Pick It Up
Bumpin Bumpin
Gucci Gucci
Gucci Gucci
Saturday Love dance party

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42 comments
Mark
Mark

Unconventional guys. Their style is clearly different from all others and this is their talent. I like many of their songs. http://www.usemeplz.com once they amended the clips, a couple of favorite even download. 

Polkca
Polkca

u have nothing to do with your life...... besides hate..... u aint God so stop judgin let her do her she gettin publicity by this article :)

Robert Latchford
Robert Latchford

"Better than: no other concert I've ever been to, and I've been to a lot."

Harsh...Not my type of music but must be someone's! The crowd seem to be into it - maybe you should focus on some other genres?

Combat Jack
Combat Jack

^ "Her million-dollar record deal seems even dumber with each passing day."I'd totally believe you if you added a #noshots behind that sentence. 

Johntell
Johntell

I don't understand the outrage over Kreayshawn. Does she have talent? No. Is that relevant to her success or failure? Not even a little bit. Bottom line, there's a huge, thirsty market of teen female consumers, and they need a rapper that looks like them. The "swagged out" thing helps to distinguish K and V-Nasty from the Twilight-type cultural product, for your more discerning tweens and boppers. These young girls aren't rappity rappers, or even musicians (from what I read in the East Bay Express, Kreayshawn wasn't interested in making music until a couple years ago, and then only through prompting from a talent guy that saw the "potential"). These girls are products waiting to happen, commodities for a marketplace. Not to be judged by their abilities. In that vein, the only problem I see here is Sony being stupid enough to try to polish em up into rapping Avril Lavignes. F**king labels - they just can't die soon enough. 

What's confusing is that I don't see any of the target demographic in the crowd, just a lot of 20-something males who should know better. I guess hype-chasing NY scenesters keep a venue in the black.

Loud
Loud

Am I wrong or what? Seems like some of the comments in here are from Kreayshawn's PR people or family?  

Chance
Chance

Reviewer dude, you're such a bullshitter it's insane. No one owns hip-hop. It doesn't have to arrive in a package to your liking. There are literally thousands of rappers doing your apparently favored breed of hip-hop, and you know what? They all sound the same. And they all have the same bar structure and topics and people are tired of that shit. Except you. You want that to flourish so some actual hip chick like Kreayshawn fails, which evidently will support your notion of what hip-hop should be. Rote regurgiutated bullshit. Well, fuck what you like and don't like you loner-ass poser. Honestly, Kreayshawn and Riff-Raff are two of the freshest things I've heard from hip-hop in years. They're both white (I don't really care what color they are, but that's a fact), rock mics and you don't like them. Thus, I'm in. Good thing the Village Voice hasn't mattered since roughly 1979, hence your prattling will have zero impact.

Served.

RazorSheldon
RazorSheldon

Ok Jeff, we get that you don't like her as a live performer.  You've made that clear before as well.  What is odd is that you seem to have some sort of excessive, personal, unfounded hatred brewing inside of you regarding her.  You compared her to Ke$ha, who has had some pretty awful live shows from a 'musical' perspective, but you only referenced her studio recordings.  

In fact, most hip hop live shows sound awful w/ the hype men singing along too much and the DJ stopping the song every 20 seconds so the crowd can rap/sing along off key.  Would you prefer a Britney Spears show where they essentially play the studio track and the performer does a choreographed dance routine and awkwardly lip synchs?  A live show should be judged by how the crowd reacts and responds.  Perhaps you are getting too old for this job if you fail to recognize this now...

ant
ant

any comments on Phony Ppl? I'm interested in how they did

Quiamat
Quiamat

If this is what the state of hip-hop has come to then it is truly a sad day. What happened to real MC'ing? What happened to substance? Hopefully she'll go the way of all the other novelty rap acts and disappear quietly into memory.....

TopBananas
TopBananas

Also in response to people's thoughts on her performance, the clip is of arguably her best song to date, a song that's on radio and tv. In fact she's nominated for a VMA for Gucci Gucci. So obviously it would be the song everyone goes HAM to.

TopBananas
TopBananas

Clearly some of you don't know who is writing this. I don't know Jeff personally but if you look at his resume you'd know that he knows a thing or two about hip-hop and good music in general. And from how I perceive the article it seems like he wants to root for her but he's been let down twice. Maybe she just needs a lil more practice, maybe the hype is preventing her from being what she believes she is. Only time will tell.

CatBastard
CatBastard

Looks like a killer show to me! Whole crowd bouncing, energy, singing along, stage diving even? Apparently this Village Voice writer is just a Kreayshawn hater. If you don't like it, why go? Why even write about it? We already know what your biased opinion is going to be. Judging by the video your description of the show just doesn't match up.

You
You

the amount of shade in this is amazing

Kimi
Kimi

LULZ FOREVER

QOakaJP
QOakaJP

Andy Kaufman or rap? You give this act (and our current pop culture standards) too much credit. I don't know if "Kreayshawn" is being sincere, and honestly, I don't care. She's a white girl who has decided to mimic/mock some of the more standard tropes of regional hip hop for a quick buck. The idea of a young, white kid who is also "hood" and from Oakland- the mythological hood capital of America- is the kind of quirky/ironic gimmick needed to break into the mainstream (although her and her girl's unapologetic use of the n-word won't help her. If she were black, she'd be just another act from the Bay who would get a few spins on local station KMEL at best. As a native Oaklander, the whole thing makes me cringe.

Sexy123
Sexy123

U sound like a dick rider

Sexy123
Sexy123

Wtf u talking about thats the best rap u heard n years the bitch cant rap most of yall cant accept 4 mm he think he black 2 just let the best stick 2 hip hop black people

maura
maura

thanks for reading!

Loud
Loud

RaxorSheldon, are you one her PR person? Sounds like it.

BarNone
BarNone

He never compared her to Ke$ha.

brogod
brogod

Phony Ppl were pretty good. It was fun. First song was way off but they picked it up real quick. Had no idea who they were but I left the show as a fan. Overall, I don't take Kreayshawn seriously, and yeah, she had mad smoke and mirrors to make her look good. I agree with a lot of the points in this article, but I went in there expecting a party, not a legit hip hop show, and I got a party. It was really fun. Smoke Dza was dope, obviously.

QOakaJP
QOakaJP

"Maybe she just needs a lil more practice, maybe the hype is preventing her from being what she believes she is"

But I think that's the problem. Record companies are eager to swoop her up (a $1 million contract? Really?!) because of who/what she is- they see marketing potential regardless of actual talent.

DrDean
DrDean

Face it, many folks these days don't have much in the way of high standards and will 'bounce, sing-along-with, and stage dive even' to someone passing gas in a puddle if they are told to; are stoned enough; or both...

Judging by the video's soundtrack, the author of the article was being kind...

monkey56
monkey56

Calling the Village Voice writer 'just a Kreayshawn hater' is suggesting that 'news' or 'reviews' only be positive.  What does one do when there is a 'new big act' that is based on lack of stage talent and no rap talent?  The use of the 'n' word sure was a ticket in to the Big Apple and a fleet of fame (who actually ever heard her mothers garage rock band?).  Look at the Tea Party - I find a similarity, no talent, no need for intelligent new contributions - let's just inflame  the public and get attention.  I would guess that the over use of the 'n' word was highly calculated, and that is a sad and sorry state of this country.  I can only hope that her record deal falls flat, she gets no PR and in a year she is forgotten or remembered fondly with Milli Vanilli - another 'designed group'.

Loud
Loud

People are free to express their opinion without being called "haters".  That's kinda  of a lame excuse.  She is talentless that's it. She'll go away as she came (by this winter: bye, bye).  She'll never have Madonna's career or even Amy Winehouse!!!  First do the sales!

maura
maura

Yes, why cover a newsworthy event? Also, is it only "bias" if someone disagrees with you?

lauren_lobo
lauren_lobo

The writer never actually implied she was the Andy Kaufman of rap. Did you keep reading??

smog
smog

I could not have said it better.  As another native Oaklander, this highly calculated use of a word that was a sure fire way to be seen. Give credit for the use of the Tea Party game book - inflame, have no real talent or plan, and be sure to throw some gas on the fire to really inflame the worst side in us.  I am sad Oakland is getting this kind of press.

Sexy123
Sexy123

This white bitch using the n word all the time and u talking about let her do her shut the fuck up dick rider

Chance
Chance

You're welcome Maura. That's what open-minded people do. Also, WTF are you doing message-trolling your own writer's blog post, I mean *cough* article? Can't his writing defend itself? Edit him harder if you can, please and thanks.

RazorSheldon
RazorSheldon

I'd be a terrible PR person, though I noticed she's managed to work you into quite a lather. You posted your little hater contradiction the day this article came out, but then you added a few more comments 2 days later.  You just can't stay away from this topic can you?  Kind of reminds me of the closeted homos that overcompensate with excessive hatred and ironic intolerance.  Is there a chance you might be a fan after all?  

She is I & I am Vee
She is I & I am Vee

In reality, she unknowingly sold her soul.. thats a million dollar LOAN. She owes them.. they own her. Poor baby.. she had no idea what she was in for. And they got a LOT of magic to create in the studio & in video's to rectify this disaster. She's like the Sarah Palin of rap. Once she got out on the mic and started embarrassing herself.. Columbia Records are like McCain... shitting bricks right now. They gotta keep her away from live stuff from now on.. don't let her do any freestyling or rapping live in interviews, no more live shows unless she's lip syncing.. get her in some training on how to command a stage. Girl needs hip hop boot camp right now and her people better reign her in.

B18
B18

Dat ether

DrDean
DrDean

Smog, you are really straining by injecting your own Tea Party pathology into a discussion of a talent-free 'performer'.

Your comment speaks volumes about you and little or nothing about either Kreayshawn or the Tea Party.

So, you hate the Tea Party. We got it. But hate is the emotional wallpaper we use to cover our insecurities about the object of our hatred when we don't feel capable of dealing with them or what they stand for.

Your hate enables you to feel "superior" to those who believe in what the Tea Party stands for without the need for intellectual honesty. That's what you are showing us here.

If you can put forth a rational, truthful argument that disproves the Tea Party's *actual* beliefs and ideas and not some hastily drawn straw man made up by your or more likely the actual source of your beliefs, then some respect would be due you.

If you can put forth a reasoned critique of Kreayshawn then do so - otherwise continue emotionally masturbating to your self-deluded faux superiority to the 'Tea Party' and others you disagree with yet are unable to rationally argue against their actual ideas. 

As it is, your attempt to conflate Kreayshawn with the Tea Party is pathetically lame. 

maura
maura

No, I just find it humorous when people go on and on about something being "irrelevant" even though it's clear that a goat has been gotten. Thanks for the editing advice, though.

Oh, and: Served?

Praxis7
Praxis7

@Rbound2:  Just for the sake of rational discussion, what "b.s." does the Tea Party throw out exactly? Links please. And you do know that a large number of Tea Partier's are Democrats. And demographically, I can find no indication that Tea Party members are any more or less rich than any average American. Please back up your assertions. 

Rbound2
Rbound2

I agree with smog about the tea party. Create b.s, throw gas on it, Android accuse others while getting rich. I cannot wait for midterm elections come and they are voted out! There are still no good republcans that can beat Obama! Score for the dems!

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