Teenage Floridian rapper Kitty Pryde has been building a steady stream of internet buzz with nothing more than her Macbook mic and honest, confessional flows. And swagger. Lots of swagger. Check out her Beautiful Lou produced track “Ok Cupid” to see just what people are so hyped up about (look no further than our own Nattymari’s article on the subject). Her writing is definitely #veryrare for someone her age. Her rhymes are a heady mix of LiveJournal and based freestyle.
But, on the other hand, Kitty Pryde is a typical teenage girl. What I think is cool about her is that she is somewhere between a very serious “artist” and a kid just messing around rapping for fun. She doesn’t have much music out now, but the songs that are out —you can check out a handful of her stuff on her bandcamp — are great. As more of her work comes out, I’m sure she’ll only get bigger and bigger. I talking to Ms. Pryde via phone about Justin Bieber, Yardsales, what it means to be a “music nerd,” how to make a macbook’s built-in mic sound professional, and more…
Nick Vogt: What’s the Kitty Pryde origin story? How did you get started rapping and how long have you been doing it?
Kitty Pryde: I got started because I got a Macbook for Christmas. I was fucking around on Garageband and was like “oooh I can make my voice sound like Tyler, The Creator!” And, my boyfriend broke up with me. I was super upset one night. My friends and I got really drunk and made a song about him. It ended up being funny so we just kept doing it. I’ve been doing it ever since. That was last January.
Cool. I wanted to ask about influences on your music. You mentioned Tyler, The Creator. And you mention Odd Future in one of your songs I’ve heard. And maybe Lil B and Soulja Boy? I know you’ve rapped on their beats anyway. But, that’s just me speculating. Who would you say your influences are?
Kitty: It sounds really lame, but I’d say Earl Sweatshirt. I haven’t liked Odd Future’s music in a while, but I just think Earl’s flow is really cool. And, the band Why?, too. They have a lot of sounds. They’re pretty eclectic. But, whenever they do rap stuff I’ve always liked it.
Why? is pretty obscure stuff actually. Well, sort of. Not many people listen to both Odd Future and Why? unless they’re like huge music nerds. Which is, I guess, like me. And maybe you, too…
Kitty: I used to be very into the whole “hipster” thing. I wanted to listen to music that nobody else heard. It was super lame. Why? is one of the bands that really “stuck” and I still listen to them a lot.
That’s cool. My friend Zachg actually compared you to Why? a couple weeks back when he was telling me about your music. And he wrote that on The Bloglin, too. That’s one of the reasons I checked out your stuff initially. I went and listened to “Ok Cupid.” And, I heard that Why? similarity, too. At the time I thought that was just a coincidence, but it’s cool to hear Why? is actually an influence on your sound.
Anyway, that’s kinda the story of how your rapping has progressed. What about beats? I know you’ve rapped on some other peoples’ beats. Is your work with Beautiful Lou first time you’ve had an “original” beat? Or have you worked with producers or made your own beats before that?
Kitty: Yeah I would hear like a random Madlib instrumental on my ipod or something and I’d think of words to go along with that when I was driving my car. I’ve used a lot of famous beats that everyone knows. Like that Soulja Boy beat. But, now, there are all these people I don’t know sending me beats like “just use this! You should get on this!” And I usually don’t. But, the Beautiful Lou stuff has been going really well. I think we’re gonna do some more stuff.
He’s a great producer. How did you end up working with Lou?
Kitty: We’re both in a Facebook group together. It’s just kind of a hip hop Facebook group. They just talk about rap music. I don’t even know why I’m in it because I have like no opinions to add to it. But, whatever. I wanted to do like a shitty “Based Freestyle” over “Versace Bently,” the Riff Raff song. I asked on Facebook “Do any of you guys have the ‘Versace Bently’ instrumental?”
And Lou sent me back a message like “Yeah, I think I have that. And, by the way, I love your music!” And I freaked out! I was like “Oh my god! Beautiful Lou!” He was like “I’d really like to send you some beats because I think you have potential.” I was like “Wow! I don’t know why this is happening, but sure!” He sent me some stuff and then started tweeting about me, telling all his followers like “Listen to this girl’s music!” And now it’s like “whoooo!!!”
Yeah, you’ve definitely gotten pretty big online in a very short amount of time. Which is cool. What I like about “Ok Cupid” is that it’s really honest. I say this all the time, but my favorite raps set scenes and tell stories. And, you do that like effortlessly on “Ok Cupid.” I love when you talk about writing the dude’s name on your binder, and when you mention his “cigarette breath.”
And even the line in the hook where you say “I planned our wedding…” feels very sincere. And different, too. I think a lot of people can like it even if they can’t relate to it. I’m not a teenage girl, but I still can appreciate the song. Do you think your sincerity in your lyrics and your attention to detail has helped get that song as popular as it is?
Kitty: I think so. Everyone always raps about the same stuff. Especially girls. All girls rap about it being really hot and going out and getting drunk. I’m not hot. I don’t go out. I’m super dorky. I do stupid stuff all the time. That song is about my boyfriend now. But, when I wrote it he wasn’t my boyfriend. I really did write his name all over my binder. And, everybody in my class really did laugh at me. People might be like “yeah, I would do that.” Not everybody is hot. Not everybody is hot. Not everybody can go fuck a bunch of hoes or whatever.
In fact, most people can’t…You said the guy you wrote “Ok Cupid” about wasn’t your boyfriend, but he is now? You kinda willed that into existence then. You won.
Kitty: Yeah, dude! I did another interview with another blog earlier today and they asked about that. They were like “Does he know he’s the object of this song?” And I was like “Well, He’s my boyfriend now.” But, he’s not allowed to hear it.
He hasn’t heard “Ok Cupid?”
Kitty: Well, maybe he has.
Yeah, maybe in secret he’s listened to it. Oh, and I also like that you reference R&B in that song, too. It’s obviously a love song, so quoting The-Dream and singing Frank Ocean is pretty appropriate. I like R&B that a lot of people consider corny, so I like that. I also like when people sing who aren’t really singers. There’s something cool about that. Maybe because I’ve never been able to sing, but always did anyway, so I can relate.
Kitty: I’m really super bad at singing! The reason there’s so much laughing on that sing is that my brother was sitting in my room and wouldn’t leave. He was making faces at me when I was singing so I kept giggling.
I think the laughing is good. It totally works on that song. It keeps it kinda “real” or something…Do you still record on your macbook?
Kitty: Yeah. I don’t even have like a mic that plugs in. I just use the built-in mic and do it in my closet so it doesn’t echo.
That is crazy. Every time I’ve tried to record with a macbook mic (I’m recording our interview that way right now actually…) it sounds awful. Like godawful. But, “Ok Cupid” sounds “professional.” The vocals are really high quality on there. So, obviously you’ve figured out how to make the most out of a crappy mic.
Kitty: Well, I also have a friend who mixes and masters my stuff. He’s in school for that. He was like “let me practice on your stuff!” So, I was like “Okay!” And, if you heard the stuff I did before I met that guy it sounds like shit.
Yeah…I’ve heard some pretty “lo fi” stuff you did actually.
Kitty: Sure, we’ll call it “lo fi…”
Yeah “Lo Fi” is kind of a buzzword right now for sure…Is the guy who mixes your music that Toy Trains dude by any chance? He’s been following me on Twitter for a while, and actually sent me “Ok Cupid” on there back when it came out. He was like “hey, check this out!” So, I was wondering what his deal was and what his relation is to your music.
Kitty: Yeah! He’s like my right hand man! He’s from Orlando. He’s in his own rap group. He’s super into my music for some reason. I don’t know. He rides for me. I don’t take my music very seriously or try too hard. But, he pushes me to. He’ll be like “Kitty, you should do this show!” And I will. I wanted him to be my manager, but he can’t really do that. So, he’s my right hand guy.
How many shows have you played?
Kitty: Like six. They all sucked. I haven’t practiced very much. I get really nervous.
Well, the more you do it the better you’ll get, I’m sure. And I bet they weren’t as bad as you think…Oh, I wanted to ask about your “Justin Bieber” song. I was talking to Walkmaster Flex about that and he told me somebody took your song too seriously and wrote this huge think piece about it? Or something? Sounds like there’s an interesting story there…
Kitty: Yeah. I just wrote that song because I love Justin Bieber. I had a Justin Bieber Christmas tree ornament and I was looking at it, sitting there signing about Justin Bieber. And that’s kinda where the song comes from. This guy who goes to film school in Texas did like a video about it. And he did this write-up that was all about how I was doing some sort of ironic pop culture statement. But, I was like “No, dude. I just love Justin Bieber. I don’t give a fuck about pop culture.”
Kitty: Yeah I thought it was funny. I showed my mom and she was like “Wow. That guy does not know you at all.”
Hit the jump for the rest!
Yeah, I think that’s important to keep in mind for me as somebody who writes about music. It’s very easy misread what someone’s intentions were for a song. Sometimes, shit is exactly what it seems. Like with your “Justin Bieber” song. And, I think it’s legit to make a song that’s not deep. Okay, this is gonna change the subject a little, but your name is from X-Men. Kitty Pryde is Shadowcat. Are you a major X-Men fan?
Kitty: Yeah. It mostly came about because my name is Kitty. I was like “Oh, Kitty Pryde! She’s badass! She’s a fucking cool X-Man!” I didn’t really read the comics until I made that my rap name. But, people have been like “you need to check out the comics!” I knew the cartoon and the movies, but now I’m reading the comics and I’m super into it.
Shadowcat’s not like a super obscure character, but she isn’t a main one either. She’s not like Cyclops or Wolverine. She was in one of the movies, though. I’m trying to think if she ever showed up in the ‘90s show…
Kitty: She wasn’t in it much for sure.
Yeah. She’s cool. She has a pet dragon. And can walk through walls.
Kitty: Her Phasing is relatable. She just goes straight through shit in her way. She goes right through it. That’s kinda how I feel.
Have you read Astonishing X-Men? It’s by Joss Whedon. Shadowcat is a big deal in it.
Kitty: No I haven’t read that.
Okay, well it’s really good. I could say a LOT more about it, but I won’t. You should check it out. Shadowcat goes to space at one point.
Kitty: [laughs] You’re like “oh wow this girl likes X-Men! I guess I’ll talk to her!” That’s why we’re doing the interview, huh?
Yep. Pretty much. You ready for another slightly weird question? I saw a picture for one of your YouTube videos and you’re showing off this tattoo on the inside of your lip that says “Princess.” Do you actually have that tattoo?
Kitty: Yeah, that’s a real tattoo.
Does it hurt to get a tattoo there? I have no tattoos so I’m honestly curious.
Kitty: Nah. I’m kind of a big baby. I got a tattoo on my back and I cried the entire time. But, I barely felt it when I got the tattoo on my lip.
I have one more random-ass thing I want to ask: your Tumblr is full of My Little Pony stuff….
Kitty: Oh my god I love My Little Pony!
Okay, well I’m not into My Little Pony at all. But, there’s like this real movement where it’s come back, right? I know some people who are into it. Isn’t there a new show?
Kitty: Yeah! It’s suddenly got a huge following! There’s a whole board on 4chan about My Little Pony. It’s awesome!
Nah, I look at My Little Pony and I’m like “ugh. Not cool.” No shade to you, of course, but…
Kitty: Oh, well I don’t know what’s wrong with you. You need to learn.You just need to watch the show! You’ll love it!
What are you working on for the future? More stuff with Beautiful Lou? Are you doing an album?
Kitty: I’m supposed to do an album. But, right now I’ve been getting all these crazy emails from all these people. People that want me to do all these different things. I kind of have to sit down with my managers and figure it out. Oh, as of today Walker and Stuart [aka Walkmaster Flex and Soft Money respectively. They also manage Main Attrakionz] are my managers! You know them, right?
I know Walker. He’s a good dude. I’ve never met Stuart. I’m sure he’s cool, too.
Kitty: Yeah! I have to sit down and talk to them about it. I want to do an album. But, I don’t wanna go to the studio. I’m scared.
Knowing Walker he’ll probably make you go to the studio.
Kitty: Oh I know he will! But, I’ve never been to a studio!
You said you’ve had tons of beats coming at you, right? Seems like that’s the way it goes now. If you’re a producer and you’re on the internet and you see a rapper you like then you just bombard them with your beats. Not that it’s a bad thing. Some great collabs happen that way. But, I’m sure that can be overwhelming…
Kitty: Yes! I don’t even wanna check my Facebook. People are always sending me beats. I’m really picky. So, I don’t like a lot of them.
It’s good to be picky. Well, you can be too picky…But, you need to be kind of picky in order to make good music.
Kitty: Yeah. And a lot of people are making the same sort of beats. I think Beautiful Lou’s beats are very unique. He’s kinda mastered the whole “80s synth” thing.
He has very wavy, dreamy beats. And I think that suits you well. You kinda need those beats because your raps are good on them. There are some beats I definitely don’t think would work for you. To use a real extreme example, I could never see a Kitty Pryde and Lex Luger collab working.
Kitty: Oh no no! That would be horrible! I like Beautiful Lou a lot for sure. And I really like Friendzone! I really wanna work with Friendzone! I’m just kinda waiting to see how it goes. Maybe I can butter them up or something…
You just did a video with my friend Bryan Mckay, right?
Kitty: Yeah! He’s super cool! He and his girlfriend are like the nicest people ever.
How did shooting the video go?
Kitty: It was kinda random. We were at my friend’s yardsale. She and her other friend were super drunk. I told Bryan to just show up there. And that’s where where we shot the video. It’s gonna be alright. It won’t be like “Kreayshawn-like” or anything.
What would be “Kreayshawn-like?” Would you have to have Minnie Mouse ears on and hang out with Odd Future and shit? Or maybe you’d go to Japan?
Kitty: [laughs] Yeah and have Supreme in the background and name-drop every single person I know and put them in my video…But, no. I don’t know anybody cool, though…
Bryan works pretty fast, so I bet it’ll be done very soon. And he’s good with videos. It’s probably gonna be awesome.
Kitty: Only if I look cute in it! I better look cute in it!- Nick Vogt