Skipping the heady intro about about social media subcultures and music, today, we’re looking at Florida rapper Kitty Pryde. Last month, her music video for “Okay Cupid” won the Viral Hit of the Week Award (who even decides this stuff?), and she’s generated some blog-buzz since. Not enough to turn her into a Kreayshawn or even a Lil B, but enough that she was able to release her Haha, I’m Sorry mixtape.
Pryde’s aesthetic runs the middle ground between not caring and stylistic suck with a healthy dose of self-awareness on both sides. How else do you explain the enforced but totally believable tackiness of “Okay Cupid”‘s video (aside from hipster-baiting)? She knows how to give a shit while making sure it doesn’t look like it; hence cruising a yardsale with her friends, the Macbook covered in stickers, and dear God, the PBR.
It’d all be irritating if the music failed.
It’s more than possible that what made “Okay Cupid” stick was that, looking past the video, it’s actually a really good song. Pryde’s a sharp writer with a deft flow (“So call me sober when you’re ready/Not going steady/But babe, I planned our wedding already” comes to mind), and Beautiful Lou’s skittering, hazy production jitters back and forth like a teen coming down from Adderall. She doesn’t rap especially fast, but hones in on her lines, and has a rise and fall cadence that sounds oddly conversational.
Pryde doesn’t venture far outside of the comfort zone established on “Okay Cupid”, but uses Haha, I’m Sorry to take a stretch within her own confines. And those are more light jogs than full-blown excursions; 5 tracks long and the mixtape never touches thirteen minutes in length. Thankfully, it gets its weakest track out of the way early: after starting with (what else but?) “Okay Cupid” comes “Orion’s Belt” with guest rapper Riff Raff. Pryde takes time to call herself “the rap game Taylor Swift”, and given both’s writing talents and tendencies to write about romance, is pretty apt, but Riff Raff’s dud of a verse sinks the otherwise middling track.
Despite getting touted as being With the Moment and part of the new game, Haha, I’m Sorry indulges in plenty of hip-hop tropes, including the anti-hater track. Although, credit where it’s due, “smiledog.jpg” has to be the weirdest name for a boast track to date. It might also be the most Internet-y boast track ever with lines like “And now I’m all over Google/And I am very YouTube-able” and “Your favorite rapper’s twittering at me”.
Somehow one-uping “smiledog.jpg” at both Most Inane Song Title and Best Non-“Okay Cupid” track is “Aw Shawty: THE SHREKONING!!!!” featuring Dankte. The track could almost pass as an amateur Drake track with its gauzy, reverb-heavy beat and Dankte’s enamored lyrics. After his verse and a simple hook, Pryde comes in with a truly impressive verse. She matches the crush song vibe of Dankte, but brings him back to earth; they’ve never met, and he’s imagining her without complexity.
But, let’s not forget that Kitty Pryde isn’t an entirely serious artist. Closer “GIVE ME SCABBIES” samples “Call Me Maybe” and mashes it with a saxophone performance in a move that’s either brilliant or unbearable depending on how much sleep I’ve had. Pryde has another solid verse about a boy, but spends most of the song competing with the beat to be heard. But even then, enough of her one-liners get through, and when she shouts “Give me scabbies!” while laughing at the end of the track, you know she’s having fun.
As far as attempts by viral artists go, Haha, I’m Sorry is a success in that “Okay Cupid” isn’t all the mixtape has going for it. That said, there’s still plenty of room for improvement; Kitty Pryde’s got the skillset and the freshness for a viable rap career, but needs something to spur her towards success. Well, if she even wants it. Either way, we got a fun mixtape out of it, three and a half stars out of five.
tl;dr: More than a lucky video, 3.5/5.