I originally wrote this post on K. Flay about a year ago, shortly before conducting her first official interview for RollingStone.com. I’m reposting now due the fact that my favorite song of hers (“So Fast, So Maybe”) was just featured on the second season of Girls. “Getting paid over here, baby ching a ling,” is right. Listen to the Ryan Crabtree remix below.
K.Flay will be playing a show with Icona Pop at the Rickshaw Stop on Valentine’s Day.
Last night I went to the Mezzanine to check out Theophilus London. I had seen him about a year ago at the Redwood Room for an intimate showcase and wasn’t really impressed but decided to give him a second chance. Very glad I did because his opener blew me away right from the start.
K. Flay sings, raps, plays the drums and makes angry girl rap over wicked sounds. I talked to her afterwards and learned that we have a couple of connections. She was born in Evanston (suburbia), where I went to school, and until recently lived in San Francisco after graduating from Stanford. A smart, loud, clever female rapper — consider me hooked.
The real named Kristine has gotten press all over the place even OUT.com surprisingly enough, but I had never heard of her. She is mentioned in a recent New York Times trend story about the surge of the white female rapper.
As soon as white women start rhyming, no matter what they say, it’s seen as cute and comical, like a cat walking on its hind legs. Seeing them try to embody the attributes of hip-hop’s vision of black masculinity is a hysterical gender disjunction: they wear it as convincingly as a woman wearing her husband’s clothes.
The writer argues that white female rappers can only play the rap game by bowing down to black male masculinity and forcefully employing either in-your-face swag (Kreayshawn) or pussy-popping sex (Iggy Azaela). One could argue that black female rappers have to do the same.
However, unlike her counterparts, K. Flay doesn’t resort to being the hyper-sexualized dominatrix or waste her time trying to convince her audience of her street cred. So the NYT concludes:
More skilled and perhaps more interesting is K. Flay, 26, a Stanford graduate and a talented vocalist who uses rhyming as a sonic technique. Culturally she is not trying to push her way into hip-hop; she’s more of an indie rock chick. Her rapping is melodic and semi-sung, and on her most recent mixtape, “I Stopped Caring in ’96,” she samples indie groups like The xx and The Vines and talks about alienation.
She wears T-shirts and Nike high-tops, little makeup and barely styled dark hair. K. Flay has no black people or hip-hop signifiers in her videos. She represents a generation of white kids who grew up with hip-hop but who weren’t obsessed with it so they feel rhyming is theirs to use without needing to pay homage to the culture.
While watching K. Flay on stage, anxiously ferocious, I thought to myself, “If Kreayshawn has a record deal, this girl has got to be signed immediately.” Of course, K. Flay told me she just signed with RCA.