Sorry, Haters: Kitty Pryde Is Staying a While
"It's a huge accident."
Loren Wohl Flower power: Kitty keeps rapping.
That's how Kitty Beckwith characterizes the fact we're even talking, over chocolate tea at Tarallucci E Vino, about her unlikely success as a rapper. The alleged teenager made waves last year as Kitty Pryde, a Claire's employee from Daytona Beach who appeared, like all viral stars, out of nowhere, with a string of languid rap videos about crushes, a habit of name-dropping Danny Brown in interviews, and an all-time Twitter mastery from the self-deprecating ("Lupe Fiasco is probably anti-me") to the most glorious of non sequiturs ("What if I take this giant Nutella jar from this frat house? Will I get in trouble?"). Oh, and she crowned herself the rap game's Taylor Swift. Needless to say, keepers of the purist hip-hop flame hate this shit.
A typical comments-section smear for Kitty goes like this: "What? This rapper has no talent. I don't get it? Is it an ironic thing? Like, oh, she is really bad, but we think it's funny, so it's cool." Bloggers like Andrew Noz have pleaded that people turn their attention elsewhere, while Gawker less subtly called her an "infant rapper."
The former Ms. Pryde explains to me that she dropped the X-Men referencing surname out of fear of a Disney/Marvel lawsuit ("It wasn't like my manager or anybody told me to") for her new EP, Daisy R.A.G.E. (out January 31), even though it'll be the third record she gives away for free via Tumblr. She giggles at the idea of metal band Kittie suing her for going mononymous.
Kitty's music isn't strikingly confident. She calls her songs diaries, and how else could you describe a line like "I wrote our names on my binder, and everybody laughed at me"? That's from the viral wildfire "Okay Cupid," an overnight YouTube hit that encapsulates a generation, name-checking Frank Ocean, Bud Light Lime, drunk dials at 3:30 in the morning, a real-life lip tattoo that reads "Princess," and a (presumably older) crush who apologizes for doing a line of Adderall in front of her. Beneath the dreamy Robitussin delivery and erotic vapor ("The sky is looking kind of cloudy/So maybe you and I should stay inside and get a little rowdy"), there's a hint of menace. Rolling Stone named "Okay Cupid" the 17th best song of 2012 for good reason—there has never been anything like it.
But even for the Tumblr era, Kitty treats her miniature (but New York Times think piece–certified) stardom casually. One line from the new EP sums up her battle with artistic ambition: "I like to be the trending topic, the pound key/Even though I break out when they hound me."
When I ask her how famous she wants to be, she pauses. "It keeps going back and forth."
"The only reason I met ["Okay Cupid," A$AP Rocky, and Lil B producer] Beautiful Lou is because I was in hip-hop discussion forums and Facebook groups. I really am a fan of hip-hop, and it sucks that when I came out people would just . . . discredit me because I'm a white girl. At first, I was offended, and then I was like, what did I expect?"