“I wish I could live in an 8-bit world,” Kreayshawn joked on Friday night about her latest incarnation: star of her own video game.
That’s actually an apt summation of the awkward middle ground the 21-year-old Oakland rapper found herself in at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, as she tried to bring her low-res esthetic to a high-res world.
Pants unzipped and a thrift-store shirt hanging off her right shoulder, Kreayshawn looked like the anti-Material Girl, a pint-sized, pixelated YouTube sensation in that transitory period between Internet celebrity and real-life stage presence.
Born Natassia Zolot, Kreayshawn has certainly conquered most online territories. Her mixtape, “Kitty x Choppa,” helped introduce meme culture to hip-hop, and this summer’s smash “Gucci Gucci” went viral in May, clocking more than 25 million views (including more than a few from the Daily Dot’s newsroom).
Kreayshawn’s latest, “Bumpin’ Bumpin’,” an Auto-Tuned crossover that reads more like a Facebook update than a proper single, is starting to gain serious traction as well, with more than 5.5 million views.
That success led to a major label deal with Columbia Records and some unlikely allies: controversial (Odd Future), commercial (Snoop Dogg), and viral (Rebecca Black). On Twitter, Kreayshawn has crossed 500,000 followers, and on Facebook, she has nearly 400,000 fans.
None of that mattered in Austin, however. Opening for Ne-Yo and Fabulous, the Frank Erwin Center was indeed one big room, as Kreayshawn would say. But the bad bitches were few and far between.
Accompanied by a hype-man and her soul sister, V-Nasty, Kreayshawn worked the mostly empty arena the best she could, flaunting with casual confidence—coy at times, cocky in others—and carried by distinctly West Coast bass lines. After a Myspace page worth of material, it was over, and no one really seemed to notice.
Apparently, ovary swag only works when there are people there to see it. She would’ve gained more attention tweeting backstage with her tour manager, Cool Nutz.
Yet, Kreayshawn still seemed excited after the show. She engaged with fans that were making their way to the arena and talked up her upcoming, Noisey.com-sponsored tour with Neon Indian.
Despite a rabid online fanbase, Kreayshawn’s equally committed to winning fans the old-fashioned way: one person or show at a time.
The Daily Dot sat down—well, actually, we stood up in a backstage area—with Kreayshawn to talk about the tension between Internet celebrity and rap stardom, how even her fans think she tweets so much, how Facebook’s different from Twitter, and how a hack put her in the same boat as Scarlett Johansson. (There’s some swearing, but that’s just our girl keeping it real.)
Videography by Jordan Valinsky, video editing by Logan Youree