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Kreayshawn

Somethin 'Bout Kreay

(Columbia; US: 18 Sep 2012; UK: 17 Sep 2012)

The particulars of Kreayshawn’s rise to fame are well documented: viral video gold with “Gucci Gucci” led to a seven-figure major-label deal, which then led to beef with hip-hop heavyweights like Rick Ross and The Game, which then led to the relative rise of her White Girl Mob crew. Kreayshawn’s debut, Somethin ‘Bout Kreay, has been hyped to death, but so were many other debut albums that fell by the wayside. The internet hype machine is nothing if not cruelly fickle. While only time will tell how Somethin ‘Bout Kreay fairs commercially, it’s clear that artistically the material is lacking. Even enlisting heavy hitters like Diplo, Boys Noize and Kid Cudi, Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay still can’t rise above the glut of mid-level and novelty rappers clogging YouTube on any given day.


“Blase Blase” opens the album, and its similarities to the Jersey Shore theme can’t be a coincidence. Kreayshawn evens yells “Go crazy” in the same cadence that LMFAO chanted “Get crazy”. But despite its lack of originality, “Blase Blase” is the high water mark of the album, where Kreayshawn puts together the most competent flow and series of chuckle-worthy punchlines on the whole project: “Yes, I’m beautiful and gorgeous / No, you can’t afford this / You’re drivin’ in a Ford, bitch.”


The rest of the songs struggle to live up to the fun-loving, booty-shaking defiance of that track. “Go Hard (La.La.La)” tries to do for teenage girls what “The Real Slim Shady” did for teenage boys, the former going so far as to crib from the latter. Em imagined his constrained youth “in the parking lot, circling, screaming ‘I don’t give a fuck’” while Kreayshawn instructs her disillusioned teen to “take that car and do circles in the parking lot, scream at the top of our lungs like ‘la la la.’”


But whereas Em was holding up a mirror to a hypocritical, media-obsessed culture in his song, and whereas those pundit-baiting singles stood in contrast to a more varied and complex worldview displayed on non-singles, Somethin ‘Bout Kreay just feels hollow. Take “Go Hard (La.La.La)” as an example, or the eye-rolling “Bff (Bestfriend)”, or “Left Ey3”, a violent revenge track that somehow doubles as an ode to Left Eye Lopez and Amy Winehouse. Or take “Breakfast (Syrup)”, which is notable only for a lackluster appearance from 2 Chainz and for taking the drug-money-food conceit so far that it’s kind of funny.


The predictable dance-variant production has a hyphy tint to it, which is the most interesting part of the album. The warm wooze of “Summertime” and the 808 smash of “Like it or Love it” offer suitable canvases, even if Kreayshawn doesn’t do much with them. It has been well-documented that she is not a technically gifted rapper, and throughout the album she raps haphazardly, like she’s always freestyling and can’t structure her lines for best effect. On “Gucci Gucci” she raps “I’m lookin’ like Madonna and I’m flossin’ like Ivana ... Trump/You know I keep that work in my trunk,” and on “Summertime” there is an awkward, mumbled cadence to the lines “Drink water ’cause I need to snap out of it/They say the summertime, known as season of the hits.” It’s halting and unsure, like she’s rapping in ellipsis. The closest parallel isn’t even another rapper, it’s a character from Parks & Recreation, Jean-Ralphio, whose penchant for freestyling always backfires when he tacks an extra word on after the rhyme.


“Blase Blase” contains a telling lyric, “Go crazy / Get money / I do my dance like no one saw me,” and if there is a statement to be found on the album, it’s that. This is a suddenly-famous girl on a wild and likely short-lived ride, doing exactly what she wants without a shred of self-doubt, dancing like no one is watching. In that sense alone, Somethin ‘Bout Kreay is successful. It’s not a very good listen, but it’s kind of fun to watch someone be so free.

Rating:

Adam Finley has two unmarketable degrees and a framed picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his office. He's been in the freelance game since 2007. He writes music reviews, political essays, non-award-winning short fiction, travel articles, and Limp Bizkit haiku. He once published a story about a chimpanzee. He is still shocked that people are willing to pay him money to write words. His dream is to ride a manatee.


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