Elvis Presley was not the originator of rock ‘n’ roll. That would be Chuck Berry. Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” is said to be the first hip-hop song to top the Billboard charts (others argue it was “Rapture” by Blondie). Justin Timberlake went from the pop sensation group ‘N Sync to the soulful singing White boy with swag. My point? America has always capitalized off of Black culture. Kreayshawn, the new White girl rapper, is only the latest byproduct.

Her government name is Natassia Toloz. Complex magazine reported the 21-year-old Oakland native is rumored to have signed a $1 million dollar record deal with Sony Music. The petite, sometimes blonde, sometimes brown-haired rapper, sparked buzz with her hit single “Gucci, Gucci” totaling over 2 million views on YouTube. Like Soulja Boy, she’s young, an Internet sensation and plans on parlaying her popularity into a full-blown rap career. She has denied the rumored record deal, but admits she has been in talks with Sony Music. Whether the ink is already dry or not, she will get a deal.

Kreayshawn (pronounced Cri-shon), possibly a play on creation, is the leader of her squad White Girl Mob. Vigilantly watching her video for the first time, I thought, ‘Is it possible for me to be intrigued, humored and disgusted at the same time?’ The huge gold doorknocker earrings. Her asymmetrical bob cut. Her homegirl rocking a similar cut, but with blonde streaks. The tats, the vernacular, the black dude entourage passing her a blunt. I hoped it was satire, while knowing it wasn’t.

Backed by Odd Future, homies with Lil B and co-signed by Snoop Dogg, I knew a record label executive somewhere saw dollar signs within 30 seconds of watching her. The novelty of a mainstream White female rapper has been nonexistent. It was only a matter of time before a vested interest arose to capitalize off such a rarity. But White rappers are not some new phenomenon. Eminem is arguably one of the best lyrical emcees in the game, Black or White.

White rappers aren’t the problem. Exploitation of Black culture is.

Black culture is diverse with various meanings; and how one defines Black culture varies from individual. In the case of Kreayshawn, I’m referring to her misinterpretation of what she thinks Black culture and hip-hop is.

One could argue she is exactly what hip-hop has become–gimmicky, devoid of substance, whack, the glorification of a street life, sexualized and talentless. If that’s the case, is she appropriating Black culture or just a part of a watered down genre?

I don’t believe for one second her image is authentic. It is one derived of the stereotypical “sister girl” trope we’ve seen time and time again. Understand, I’m not arguing whether “sister girl” actually exists. I’m not even arguing that the “sister girl” is to be shunned. But Kreayshawn’s image, how she carries herself, her lyrics are all derivative of her very limited view of Black culture.

Beside her lack of creativity, the fact that she’s garbage on the mic, the inauthenticity of her persona is unnerving. A Berkley Film School dropout, allegedly from the hood, has found her niche in hip-hop. Perhaps her posturing is homage of sorts to what she grew up seeing. And this is what she believes she must imitate to gain credibility in hip-hop.

But with artists like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and B.o.B., isn’t there now a space in hip-hop that exists for rappers to just be themselves without the need for street credibility? Or a trumped up, unoriginal “sister girl” image? I guess we haven’t reached a point where female emcees are afforded the privilege of not having to be either “hood” or sexy.

It’s ironic how the White girl mimicking Black culture has been viewed as quirky, cute, and interesting in the past. But sisters who fashionably rock bamboo earrings, gold nameplate necklaces, and blonde streaked weaves, will inevitably be considered “ghetto” by society. It’s equally problematic that every female emcee post Queen Latifah and MC Lyte who has had massive mainstream success all had to sell sex. Kreayshawn, on the other hand, is able to avoid an over sexualized image because of her whiteness.

It goes without saying that most people don’t take issue with talented White artists excelling in genres Blacks created. We’ve certainly supported artists like Robin Thicke, Amy Winehouse and Eminem. I’d imagine that support was gained from them creating good music and not selling a gimmick.

Clearly I’m not Kreayshawn’s targeted audience, and I’m totally opposed to spending money on a White artist who loosely drops the n-word in casual conversation. My being unimpressed, however, does not negate her following. If only she had gained a following through actual talent, opposed to capitalizing off of a genre and culture she obviously doesn’t care to understand.

Kreayshawn’s existence within hip-hop is a reflection of the very aspects we self-proclaimed hip-hop heads find problematic. She is a result of a genre that was forever changed once America realized there was a huge opportunity to capitalize off of a global influential culture. Kreayshawn, artists like her, and those who co-sign them are all culprits in the auctioning off of our culture to the highest bidder.


300 Comments

  1. Clnmike

    This piece comes off as hate, the girl hasn’t dropped a real album yet and her style has a retro feel to it one that black people don’t even rock anymore. She is following in the exact foot steps of the women before her, how is singled her out and yet a pass is given to Em and Robin Thicke? She is as talented as the rest of the women out here.

    • 1. Talent is subjective. IMO, She is the white, female version of Gucci Mane…do with that what you will.

      2. The 80s “retro feel” you speak of is NOTHING new. In fact, in the last few years it’s been done to death see: Pac Div, The Cool Kids, Retro Kidz, MIA, Santigold, anything involving Diplo etc.

    • REALTALK

      P.S.
      Robin Thicke and Em didn’t feel they had to come out dressing and acting “Black” to be respected by the African American community. African Americans respect the music, the music industry feels that artist have to have a certain look, especially female artists to even be accepted.

    • Clnmike

      @Aashiana.

      1. Talent is subjective. Your right so who is to say she isn’t? Not her fans that’s for sure. And judging by the rest of her work she is far above Gucci Mane.

      2. The retro feel is what was placed in this video and pointed out in this article if people followed her they would see its not the norm.

      ⁠@REALTALK
      PSS
      1-Em made a song using derogatory remarks about black after getting his “heart broken” he wasn’t quoting he mean it. If this is going to be about dressing and acting black than he very well does dress “black” with the baggy clothes style and his vernacular.

      3- Robin Thicke obviously has a chocolate fetish with his “soul” music videos and black wife.

      They all pander to blacks so there all the same.

  2. noname

    wow – is everyone really mad because she’s wearing doorknocker earrings, hanging out w/black dudes, and smoking a blunt? cuz that’s not MY black culture…

    also no one was mad at MIA when she came out with the same ‘gimmick’ style… but i guess cuz she’s brown-skinned it’s ok?

    • Domino

      You can not even compare this girl to MIA. MIA is hella original with her own sound. You always know an MIA beat. She is not a gimmick. She’s quite the revolutionary for Sri Lankans and talks about the ill of her society.

    • noname

      i’m not talking about beats or lyrics… a lot of this article focuses on the visuals, the way she looks and who she’s with.

    • interesting point, noname… especially considering the fact that MIA adopted her entire persona after attending film school and beginning to identify with hip-hop and dancehall culture… that was definitely NOT the environment she grew up in, it was merely the platform she chose to use. is that not ‘appropriating Black culture?’

    • Oh HEAAAAALLL NOOOO! LMAO

      DON”T YOU EVEN GO THERE!

      M.I.A. is NOTHING like this chick AND shes 9934809321480329x more original!!!! Her image was NOT a gimmick, M.I.A HAD style, creativity and secondly her beats where NOT hip-hop beats. No one can top or copy M.I.A … Get it straight!

    • isolde

      “interesting point, noname… especially considering the fact that MIA adopted her entire persona after attending film school and beginning to identify with hip-hop and dancehall culture… that was definitely NOT the environment she grew up in, it was merely the platform she chose to use. is that not ‘appropriating Black culture?”
      _________________________________________________________________

      @Serenissima

      Um . . . no

      MIA grew up in the projects of South London

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/30/arts/music/30play.html?ref=mia

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5TiGAgcDHc&feature=player_embedded#at=38
      ______________________________________________________________________

      “also no one was mad at MIA when she came out with the same ‘gimmick’ style… but i guess cuz she’s brown-skinned it’s ok?”
      ______________________________________________________________________

      @noname

      Actually, it is less egregious precisely because MIA is brown skinned. Sri Lankans do not have a history of colonialism or perpetuating the systematic, racial subjugation of black Americans. However, white people do, which is why someone like Gwen Stefani would catch a lot more heat for using those Asian “Harajuku” girls as props, during her L.A.M.B. era, than Nicki Minaj would for basically doing the same thing in her Massive Attack video. Women of color like MIA and Nicki are also twice marginalized because they are both not-white and female. So by virtue of being white, Kreayshawn has a better chance of achieving mainstream acceptance, more latitude for artistic freedom, and she stands to profit more for her trouble.

      Someone said something earlier that caught my eye about how a black woman would be considered ghetto for donning Kreayshawn’s attire, and I’m pretty inclined to agree.

      @Bene

      This is more of a Racialicious piece. There aren’t as many white privilege deniers there.

  3. ActuallyAuthentic

    I really could care less about her nonsense rap, but the fact that talentless hacks like Lil B cosign her & her Klan of devils use of the word ‘nigger’ is unnerving.

  4. *shrugs* i like kreayshawn

    come gargle my swag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lmfao

  5. Uhm, what? “Black culture?” This implied exclusivity stop being so decades ago. Hip-Hop has spread to a world-wide culture, no need for “black” artists to perpetuate this “black culture.” Sorry to break it to you, but hip-hop has transcended race in the real world, perhaps not in people’s minds.

Comments are moderated, please be respectful. View our policy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Read previous post:
Close