Internet Hype has officially jumped the shark, and “buzz” is getting closer and closer to becoming a dirty word. Part of the problem is that things are moving too fast and too many of the same people are plugged in on the same wavelength, influencing each other and feeding off one another. When something like, say, Lana Del Rey comes along, it doesn’t take long before everyone is talking about it. It starts off well. Everyone is jumping on board the train, high-fiving, and laughing like hyenas as the speed picks up. At some point, for some reason, someone decides to jump off. The balance is thrown. People are freaking the fuck out. Some hold on even harder, others jump like lemmings. There is argument, confusion, and chaos. It’s a shit show. A fucking shit show.
If you dive into it and try to come up with an explanation, it’s probably all tied into how fast the Internet moves. Updating a Facebook status once a day has turned into updating every 5 minutes on one social network or another, sharing everything you see, talking about everything that’s out there, and of course consuming as much as humanly possible. It’s obvious how this has affected music. We don’t buy a CD, ride around with it in our car for 3 months straight, then decide what we think. We listen to snippets of 10 songs, then hit Twitter and talk about how it’s the best or worst album of the year, and then we move on. It’s sad in some ways, it’s just human nature in others. Human nature on speed. Human nature on high speed.
This rate of consumption has trickled down into the media. Media outlets have realized how fast everything is moving, and how they need to react just as quickly. It’s not about coming up with some great piece two weeks after the fact, it’s about being part of the conversation as it’s happening. We jump on board, we scramble to form opinions, we share. We try to react just as quickly as everyone else, and as thoughtful as we try to be, we often end up on that train, surrounded by screaming, laughing, argument, confusion, and chaos. No matter how professional or thoughtful, it’s close to impossible for the quick-drawing media to capture a clear picture of what’s really happening. So just like you, we join in, and we react. And then somebody jumps off. Enter the backlash.
Yesterday, Kitty Pryde released her music video for “Okay Cupid.” As Brendan pointed out, Kitty Pryde is “made out of the internet.” The young (she hasn’t said just how young yet) Daytona Beach rapper approaches music in a way only possible in a world in which we’ve come to understand personalities like Lil B. Her Tumblr popularity and style has turned her into a character too fascinating not to be captivated by. She’s obsessed with Danny Brown and Justin Bieber, she’s severely candid but still leaves you wondering, “What’s her story,” and she’s impossibly cute, to the point that guys much older than she is are fawning over her. And that “Okay Cupid” video was her first real “big break,” making her impossible to ignore any longer. It’s also kicked up a murky cloud of disarray, like a frenzy of activity at the bottom of a muddy, stagnant lake.
The reactions so far are greatly varied. Some call her brand of Tumblr Rap the next step in the evolution of hip-hop, some simply call her “the next big thing,” some are already deciding it’s talentless garbage and pointing out who is doing it better, some are stuck on labeling it as a gimmick, and some are just picking it up and offerring their undecidedness with a simple, “What the fuck?” It’s more complicated because she’s already under the management of the same guys who handle Main Attrakionz, and the production by the respected Beautiful Lou adds an element of artistry to what she’s doing that makes it harder to dismiss as value-less. But it’s certainly not just about the music—Kitty Pryde offers a window into a little slice of culture from a new perspective: that of a young girl with a keen sense of “cool” and an understanding of the non-traditional directions that it’s now okay to take with hip-hop.
But a backlash takes another element that has nothing to do with music—it takes hype. Without any hype, there is no backlash to be had. The greater the hype, the more potential for a powerful backlash, and the level of hype around Kitty Pryde right now is at an all-time high, after just 24 hours.
Another thing that makes a backlash seemingly inevitable is that there are a lot of people out there with a sense just as keen as Kitty Pryde. There are people who have seen what has happened with Lana Del Rey, seen what has happened with Kreayshawn, seen how fast the music world embraces someone, and seen how fast it is to chew someone up and spit them back out. There are already people out there grumbling about how many think pieces are going to pop up on Kitty Pryde over the coming days (just watch, it will happen) and already deciding that this is another case of hype gone wild. To put it in terms of the out-of-control train, this Kitty Pryde train is picking up speed fast, and everybody is nervous. Nobody wants to be the last one to jump on, and nobody wants to be the last to jump off. A lot of people would really like to be the first. Just as others start writing up their hype-pieces, the more cunning are writing up their hate-pieces, poising themselves to explain why all these hype mongers are terribly mistaken.
For now, before you get caught up in all this ugly mess, take Kitty Pryde for what she is: something new, something different—a young, white girl with a magnetic, Internet-friendly presence and a cloud-rap sound that makes sense given this new style of hip-hop that’s becoming increasingly popular. There is access to more music than ever right now, and for a lot of reasons, Kitty Pryde has managed to stand out. While you still can, make up your own mind, before everyone else tries to make it up for you. Hate it or love it, it’s enough to win over the attention of a lot of people, and it’s going to be close to impossible not to talk about. For now, sit back and watch, take in what you can, and form an opinion. Whatever you do, stay away from that fucking train.