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  • Sleazenation Feature (2001)

    She marries Kool Keith and Morrissey to a soundtrack of NYC sass. She's the real hip-hop ball-cruncher.

    How many rock-merch catalogues offer a trademark thong? Not many, thankfully, but ya know, a Princess Superstar thong has a certain ring to it. Princess Superstar—she's a complex white hip-hop vixen from NYC who wants cash and independence (she wants 'to own everything like I was an apostrophe'), sex and artistic respect—and lots of it. She once wrote a song about Kool Keith's ass after secretly taping a conversation with him in a club—now he's done a track with her on her new album, Princess Superstar Is... She's really a sensitive Pisces, you know.

    Last time around, Concetta Kirschner, who moonlights as the shameless hussy Princess Superstar, was rollerblading to work where she'd abuse the stationary cupboard at her day job to aid her musical ambitions. On her second album, CEO, appeared the song Stuck in A 401 K-Hole, a piss-take patchwork of answering machine messages from major label sleaze with bizarre offers like recording a duet with Bryan Adams. Needless to say the deal she and her trilby-wearing. Brit ex-pat Corporate Conglomerate label business partner, Madame Louise, have done with Rapster for her new album doesn't come with the proviso of wack sell-out hook-ups. Besides, she's worked with Prince Paul, Jon Spencer, Baron Ricks and got Beth Orton, Sinista, High & Mighty and Kool Keith, of course, on her new album anyway. As anyone whose's ever had a clue has figured out, if you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself. Which she does, writing, producing and performing her songs with a little studio maintenance from longtime collaborator Curtis Curtis.

    But who is Princess Superstar? Seven years agos she released a 7" on Teenbeat with the chick rock group, Gamma Rays. Her indie-rock roots might explain the unexpected vein of emotional vulnerability and honest generally unheard of in hip-hop that comes across on Is... Who was the last female performer who admited she wasn't as big as her image suggests and whose idea of an imaginary tomorrowland is the day 'all my black friends can get taxis'? "Don't let the look fool you" she warns in Dichotomy. Maybe Mariah could learn a trick or two from the Princess?

    Sleze: So, is being a full time Princess all you thought it would be?

    Princess Superstar: Certainly, when you're little and you're thinking about doing all this stuff, well there'd be LIMOS and so much MONEY and there would be MEN, but it's none of that! It's a little bit weird because it's a bit of fame but not really everything that comes with fame, so it's an interesting place to be. I'm not sure that I want to be superfamous and superrich. I'm not sure I could really deal with that, the demands, because I still want to experiment with music and I would like to be successful but I still am in that place where I want freedom and I think you lose freedom when you get that big.

    S: People call you the 'female Eminem'. Have you taken much interst in Eminem and his whole Slim Shady/Marshall mathers double persona thing?

    PS: I didn't know there were two personas, it all seemed like one well paid rapper to me.

    S: Beneath a lot of the pure fronting and dissing on this record there's Untouchable where you sing, 'Sometimes I wear nothing on the outside/because there's too much on the inside'. Are you saying 'attack is the best form of defense'?

    PS: Yeah, when I first wrote that line I was biting Morrissey saying 'Sometimes I wear black on the outside/ because there's black on the inside' and I changed it to 'Sometimes I wear nothing on the outside/ because there's nothing on the inside; Then Beth (Orton) changed it to 'too much' on the inside because she's like, That's what you really mean isn't it? Too much on the inside? Damn Brits being all smarter than me and shit! I think that's what's wrong with a lot of hip-hop, and music in general is that it's all one... kind of thing. You can play the persona to death, but it gets really boring.

    S: It's like the Pink/Christina/Mya/Kim video for Lady Marmalade—they're acting like whores and there's no irony at all!

    PS: There's no irony, none at all, and they don't care. Their record company said this is what we're going to do: we're going to put you all together and market you like a can of Pepsi. The music is hideous. It's horrible. It is exactly like a can of Pepsi.

    S: In I Love You (Or At Least I Like You) you've got a male ho who brags about selling his cock.

    PS: I love that one because that's my real feminist song. Cos every hip-hop song, like in that Dr. Dre song: 'Can't make a ho a housewife', and the Biggie song: 'I'm going to wine and dine you and then you're fucking me tonight' and I just turned all that shit around. Nope, I'm the one doing this! I love that song because it's a real powerful feminist take on hip-hop. And it's funny too, I love doing that with humour. For me, humour is power.

    S: You seem to have become a lot more committed to being an artist than just wanting to get the dough, sista?

    PS: I have been doing this since 1994, so I think what's happening is that I'm really finding pure pleasure in doing the music. I think I just really came to terms with the fact that I want to being doing music for the rest of my life and I wanna keep evolving and flowing and being the best artist I can. I know it sounds very serious, but I'm really not! I think I'm just, I don't know, feeling the art of it all. I become very insular when I'm making a record, I don't go out and I don't socialize and I just completely obsess with the music. I'm hunched over my computer all night writing. It's not like I'm inhabiting characters, I feel more like The Hunchback of Notre Dame! (cackles)

    Princess Superstar Is... is out 8 October on Rapster.

    Article reprinted without permission.