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Cover 03/27/2013

Hello, Kitty

Internet rapper Kitty (formerly Pryde) rides out the Tumblr wave

Photo: , License: N/A

Kitty is young and attractive, though she recoils at that observation. Yet she craves attention. She began recording in her closet on just a few years ago, and now that she’s in studios, she still can’t confidently conjure her flow if there are eyes on her. Although she has learned to engage her audiences more at her shows, few things seem to make her skin crawl like a frigid crowd whose only reaction to her is to stare. It makes her feel self-conscious, the way you might feel if your roommate walked in on you dancing with yourself.

“At first, I was just really bad at performing,” Kitty says. “I didn’t really want to be doing it, and I just kind of felt obligated to, but now I’m just, like, really into it. … I learned how to interact with people better so that they have more fun, instead of just being like the fucking freak show it was at first. … I don’t want to be the Hunchback of Notre Dame up there, being made fun of by a bunch of people, so I think I’m getting better at actually taking things seriously, I guess.”

But that’s essentially how she got her start anyway. In 2011, she was adopted by freak-show-seeking lurkers from the 4chan Internet message boards who stumbled across her nerdy referential rhymes and confessional songs through her Tumblr site, a pretty-pony place on the Internet that feels as genuine today as it did when she started it. Her greatest fear is to be seen as a gimmick, and on D.A.I.S.Y. Rage, not only does she depart from her typical crushworthy subject matter, she also experiments with her delivery, branching out stylistically, which – while it’s not always as interesting as her typical offbeat flow – at least serves as a strong indicator that she’s not looking to be a one-trick pony.

“Obviously, it’s still supposed to be funny. I want to make people laugh. I don’t want to be like a weird gimmick,” Kitty says. “The word ‘meme’ makes me so fucking mad. And Tumblr-wave, that makes me want to shoot everyone. That’s the worst thing. Music is music. I guess people make music into memes, but I’m a person.”

And as an actual person and not just something to laugh at online (and off), Kitty is going through some of life’s common stages right now. She is in love with her boyfriend, with whom she lives in New York. It’s her first time living apart from her family. She misses her siblings. She even misses how awkward it is when her parents, blind with pride, tell their co-workers and church friends about their daughter’s success, encouraging them to “check out her website,” leading many a clueless clicker to encounter her flippant, tee-hee online persona.

“They see it, and it’ll just be, like, pictures of naked, old people or something crazy,” Kitty says. “So I’m working on an actual website that will link to everywhere, and it’ll link to my blog, but it’ll just be separated. It won’t have anything on there that can make anyone mad at me.”

Beckwith is a student of interpersonal communications at the University of Central Florida. She plans to finish her degree online and credits her favorite professor, Michelle Dusseau, as her mentor, influencing her music in ways more compelling than her hip-hop idols Danny Brown and Petey Pablo.

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