It would be easy to write Kitty off as a meme. Spotted by Riff Raff for her work in comedy rap, she collaborated with him in 2012 and went viral with the video for their song “Orion’s Belt.” But with serious praise from rapper Danny Brown, Sufjan Stevens, WHY? front man Yoni Wolf and Pitchfork, she’s getting harder to ignore. Kitty’s last mixtape demonstrated that sometimes the line between awesome and awful is strikingly narrow- something she acknowledges in its title “haha I’m sorry”). The artist formerly known as Kitty Pryde shows off an impressive flow and some hard-hitting production on her fourth EP D.A.I.S.Y Rage. She sings her self-deprecation with “fuck-the-haters” confidence; on ☠DEAD❤ISLAND☠ she remarks, “Wiz is black and yellow and I’m white and fucking terrible.”
Kitty has a tendency to shift seamlessly between lighthearted quips about twitter hate to meditations on her anxiety in a way that’s slightly unnerving. On $krillionaire she raps, “I know you wanna prove your dominance, and you want all my klonopin. So I’ll trade you for your confidence so I can uncurl from the little ball I’m in,” followed just a few seconds later by the lighthearted “Why you wanna fuckin’ undercut me like I’m Skrillex hair?” This inclination towards over sharing mixed with pop-culture ridiculousness is what makes Kitty shine. The former Claire’s employee is overtly “tumblr” in her embrace of glitter and my little pony—her uptalk about undercuts and fixies is enough to turn some people off within seconds.
☠DEAD❤ISLAND☠ and ay shawty 3.0 see some of Kitty’s best rhymes yet. Rapping about her mom reading her tweets over gritty hip hop beats, the songs on D.A.I.S.Y Rage fall in some unfamiliar place between parody and sincerity. But figuring out her level of earnestness isn’t the point. Kitty speaks to an audience that, like herself, is media savvy and doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Whether or not it’s intended as critique, Kitty is undoubtedly self-aware. The album’s greatest strength is its resonance with the social anxiety that haunts the new media generation—a digital angst that reads like alt lit and sounds like hip-hop. She sums it up best on R.R.E.A.M, “I grew up on the shy side, the free Wi-Fi side.”
Despite claims on her tumblr (“dont listen 2 pitchfork im a 10 shawwwty”) D.A.I.S.Y Rage is no 10.0. Too often, her over-sharing comes off as gratingly attention whoring, and the pop culture hypersaturation feels like desperation to stay relevant. Still, Kitty’s fourth EP shows promise with her fuzzy electronica production and exploration of the darker side of her persona, ensuring her permanence past the “meme” hype.