The mixtapes were alright. Natassia's Kreayshawn was meant to be big, and the mixtapes weren't expensive enough. But they informed people of Kreayshawn Culture: a new cool that Natassia had been working on for years, building quietly, exposed at parties and studio drop-ins, until the "Gucci Gucci" video was released in 2011. And it was so good, and I was so happy to see someone so confident in their worth have everyone singing their single. The radio performances and concerts that followed weren't great, but that was never the point. Kreayshawn's success was measured in volume: increased play counts, more hate mail, louder Twitter arguments, higher Lisa Frank visibility. If you heard her name, she won. Kreayshawn consumed, becoming caps lock, neon colors, and stubborn enough to establish herself as a sour candy singles artist simply by deciding to do so. If you didn't like it, you weren't cool enough.
Money kept coming in. Some of Natassia's louder friends released videos, helping the Kreayshawn takeover cover more ground. Rick Ross had words for her. She would be in touch with Juicy J. When it came time for Natassia to finally release a commecial album, the world had heard so much about her that it didn't matter whether the album was good or not. The brat always left her impression on the listener with each new song, and as long as you could hear Kreayshawn on every song, Kreayshawn's album would be a success.
Somethin 'Bout Kreay is a Kreayshawn album. We prayed for hours to The Gucci Mane, we watched Disney movies in half-time, video-spammed USTREAM. It's all on her album. We wrote Katy Perry singles every afternoon, posted drug pictures to Instagram. It's all on her album, and why wouldn't it be? Kreayshawn has always been a celebration of herself, and this album succeeds totally in being an undeniably Kreayshawn album. I leave mean comments on your blog while listening to Chippy's verse. Every mix has a "Go Hard" remix. We've heard "Gucci Gucci" so many times and still get excited when it comes on. This is music as Natassia always imagined it should be - always told me it should be - but if you don't stop thinking the second you put the album on, you're doing it wrong. We never listened to the lyrics of our favorite Waka Flocka songs; we never cared about whether Britney lip-synced her VMA performance. Neither proved that those artists didn't have charisma that couldn't be ignored, and charisma was always Natassia's currency. The only problems with Somethin 'Bout Kreay come when you have nothing to say about it, and that just won't happen.
Last week, Natassia picked me up at my apartment and we brought 40s to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed party. This week, Kreayshawn is in Paris. We'd meet in the school's bathroom and write our names on the mirrors before we dropped out. We'd throw our drinks at anyone. We became too cool for anyone that didn't have time for us, and that's what keeps us so close today, so in love with Kreay.
"Somethin 'Bout Kreay" is out now through Columbia Records
Adam "Wicca Phase" McIlwee