Kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde) has been one of the most divisive figures in hip-hop over the past year. She has managed to gain the acclaim of her respected contemporaries, Complex Magazine and The New York Times among others. Inversely, she has become an object of ridicule and criticism to throngs of detractors. After settling into her newfound fame, Kitty is finally starting to gain comfort in it, and is gaining composure as an artist. From the context of our interview it was apparent that Kitty was a person with a career and specific things to do — a huge contrast from the semi-composed and slightly flustered girl who had just happened to become famous that she used to be. There’s still a girly charm in her overuse of “like” and “whatever,” but that’s just who she is. The general impression that Kitty gave off was that she could care less about those sorts of things. Her sincerity and relative sanity among her comically cartoonish female contemporaries like Nicki Minaj and the excessively outspoken Azealia Banks is refreshing and welcomed. Kitty has already demonstrated promise and adeptness with the catchy "Okay Cupid" and her D.A.I.S.Y. Rage EP. Even so she is still young and has the potential to go further. Much of who Kitty is an artist has yet to be determined in her burgeoning career. On the eve of her first SXSW appearance it will be interesting to see where she goes and what she does.
The D.A.I.S.Y. Rage EP was very different from your previous release. Haha, I’m sorry. The latter sounded more like a girl making a rap album, whereas D.A.I.S.Y. Rage sounded like an artist putting out music with more poise and confidence. What was the difference of the meaning and intentions of the two records to you?
Haha, I’m sorry [it] was really rushed. I did everything really quickly on my own. It didn’t really take long, ‘cause I didn’t really try. I didn’t think it was like – I mean like it was right after all this whole internet crazy stuff [blew up] and I didn’t feel like it even had a chance for people to like it. I just thought everyone was immediately gonna make fun of me again and I didn’t even care cause I thought it was funny. That was at a point where I was still kind of joking and now I’ve like kind of realized that I like this now. It’s fun. I sort of put a lot more effort into D.A.I.S.Y. Rage because this is my job now. I have time. Before I was like I’m in college and I have a full-time job. I didn’t really have the time to be focusing on rap, but now I do. Everything was just kind of making fun of myself and making fun of other people. Instead of making fun of things I’m being more honest about stuff.
In terms of how you perceive yourself in your career, where do you see yourself? On Tumblr in the past, there seems to be this duality of you being like, “Everyone hates me, this sucks,” and you being like “people hate me, but whatever I don’t care about them.” Which one do you see yourself gravitating towards more as your career progresses?
I don’t think that anyone really understands the intensity of the things that people do and say to me. I’ve had a full bottle be thrown at my head onstage before. Most of the time it’s really easy for me to be like, I don’t really care. But the more popular things get it gets easier to ignore and filter out the bad shit. But there have definitely been times where like I definitely get a little bit upset. It’s kind of hard for me to ever be unhappy for more than like 10 or 15 minutes. Usually I’ll go sit down and bitch about it on Tumblr and then I’ll be like, “Okay I feel better now.”
You’ve said that all of your success and everything that’s been happening to you is something that you think is funny. Are you past looking at it like that?
No, I still think it’s hilarious. I literally tried to tell people today when I tried to mail packages at UPS. I tried to tell the guys at the register because they were hitting on me and asked me what my job was. I was like, "I’m a rapper.” I usually don’t say that. I don’t even know why the hell I told them, but they just laughed and they were like, “Okay, whatever dude.” Honestly, nobody believes it so I don’t even really believe it sometimes. Anyways, I think it’s the most hilarious joke in the world. But you know, whatever.
You are very different from a lot of rappers, both in the general sense and then amongst female rappers. A lot of male rappers try to exhibit a certain masculine machismo and women rappers try to emulate that as well. Because you don’t do that what do you think your function is in rap?
I never set out to do that. It’s important to me to stay true to myself. Right off the bat, I was rapping over Nicki Minaj songs when I first started, just when I was joking. I knew that it doesn’t work for me to fake that. I can’t really be like, “I’ma bad bitch.” I’m obviously not. No one wants to listen to someone who’s lying to them, unless they’re really cool about it. I’m not a good liar so, I just kind of do what I feel like doing. I’m never gonna really play up my sexuality or anything like that, because that’s not really a part of my personality either so I just don’t want to fake anything. It’s not really a conscious effort. I just like to be true to myself.
Now that you’ve kind of settled into where you are, do you have aims for what you want to do musically or artistically?
Actually, I don’t even know. I don’t want to set goals for myself or expectations because like I don’t want to end up disappointing myself if something happens, and I don’t get to where I want to be or get to do what I want to do. I know how crazy things are and how fleeting stuff like this is. I just kind of like to settle into a lot of different avenues and think up a thousand different things I can do and achieve right now. That way I feel good about myself and I don’t have to be sad if I don’t make a million dollars on something or collab with fucking Kanye West. I don’t know.
If it ends up being fleeting, what do you want to go do?
Now, I’ve met so many people here, and just so many people that I’ve worked with and so many different people that I’ve seen. I have so much stuff that I want to do. I’ve been writing for Vice. I’ve been working with a lot of photographers, and modeling a lot and stuff like that. There’s all sorts of stuff I want to do. I don’t think I’m ever gonna go back to Florida. That’s not a thing. I’m definitely going to stay within the industry I think. Even if I don’t end up staying a rapper. I’m not gonna stop making music, because it’s fun.
Do you have a specific criterion for who or the type of person you want to collaborate with?
I don’t know. I’ve never been super about trying to get big name people to work with me. I guess that’s just another thing that I think is corny. There’s a lot of people in New York that are here – I think that anyone who is doing something different and just kind of like them self. With the whole trap thing especially, there’s so many producers who have just switched up what they do and how it sounds just like according to what’s playing a lot. I think that’s lame so I don’t really go after anyone like that. I love to work with my friends, especially like Grant. He’s awesome. Hot Sugar, Antwon and Lakutis. Everyone who worked on D.A.I.S.Y. Rage at all was my friend. I like to work with people that I meet and just like hangout with.
In that vein, what standard do use to pick your beats and the producers you work with? They all seem to be very different and work with your specific sound really well.
I listen to a billion [beats], and I say no to all of them. If there’s one that I like, even if it some else's song already, like my song "$krillionaire" – I don’t know if you know Das Racist, but Heems [of Das Racist] used that beat on their mixtapes randomly and I heard it and I was like, “Dope. This is my favorite beat ever I need to use it.” The guy who made it was Mike Sonido and he was like friends with my friend, or whatever. So I just kind of like used it, and I was like “sorry Heems, I’m using your beat,” and I was like whatever I don’t care, so that’s kind of how it goes. If I like one, I don’t let it get away from me. I’m not like, “Send me beats that sound like this.” And I never go to a studio and tell a producer like what I want them to do. Like Chippy [Nonstop] can do it. She’ll be like, “No, I want you to change the drums to this,” or “I want this BPM.” I don’t even do that. I want it to already be made so that I can use it the way they want it, but I don’t want to change anything about it.
What’s it like, going from a year ago to knowing about these people like Heems and now you can talk about people like Heems casually because you’re tight with them?
At first it was really, really weird. Hanging out with Kreayshawn and stuff and Andy Milonakis and whatever. It was so weird to me. I realized like, they’re cool. They’re my friends. I don’t even think about Heems now or anyone of them as rappers that I listen to anymore. They’re just like my friends before that. I don’t know. It’s kind of weird, but it’s getting more normal.
This will be your first time performing at SXSW. What do you expect going into it?.
I have no idea what to expect. I hear it’s a total shit show, but I hear it’s also really fun. I like so many shows that I don’t even know what I’m gonna do. I’m good at going with the flow, so I’m hoping it will be easy to go with the flow there.