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  • A and F Quarterly Interview

    She may not look like a rap goddess—she may look like a bottle-blond white girl from Pennsylvania, as a matter of fact—but Princess Superstar is the best hip-hop artist you've never heard. With a self-produced sonic paletter that rivals DJ Shadow and a supertight flow that makes Eminem sound like Mase, her deliciously debauched songs are the toast of the NYC underground. We sent contributor Marcelle Karp to sit in as the Princess held court.

    Hype us to your next record.
    I've never need so excited and so happy about a record my whole life. It's my fourth. It's called Princess Superstar Is... and what's really cool about it is that a lot of it is really super-funny and super-tongue-in-cheek and super-out-there, and on the other hand there's a few more personal, vulnerable songs. And that's the first time ever.

    Soft and gooey Princess? That's a departure. Your shit is usually like, "I like to fuck!"
    Yeah, it's gonna be different. It's got all the who's-who of the hip-hop underground, like Kool Keith and Bahamadia and the Herbaliser, And Beth Orton sings, which is really super.

    That's dope. Do you ever feel like Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown and all those other trash-talkin' divas ripped you off? Cuz you were rapping raw-style way before them.
    It's fun to think about that. Everyone tells me that Madonna ripped me off for her video for "Music," too, but...

    Well, it seems like everyone's copping your style. You are the original millenial pimp mama.
    I got my Gucci pants on right now! But I like to think everybody inspires everyone. I get inspired by Madonna and Lil' Kim and Missy Elliot. And if they happened to have come across my stuff and gotten inspired, then great.

    You write clever rhymes, you rap well, your samples are phat. You're way ahead of the pack.
    That's a really great compliment. A lot of women don't even write their own rhymes—men do. I write my own stuff. I produce it too. I did a lot of the record on the computer by myself.

    Do you still wear those mack daddy outfits when you perform?
    Yeah. I am an entertainer. I used to make dramatic entrances: One time I had boys carry me in on a chair. I used to strip and have just my read-white-and-blue bikini on. I'm a little more mellow now.

    Do your fans ever try to get you to take it all off?
    Yeah. I get that a lot. I used to say, "How much did you pay to get in here—eight bucks? I don't think so." Lately people will actually put dollars in my crotch as if I were a stripper. At first I was like, fuck that, but then I was like, I could use the money. Normally, by the end of the night I throw it all back.

    So you like being on top?
    Yeah! I love performing. I still get really nervous before shows. I used to get drunk, but then I was like, Okay, this isn't gonna work. I had a lot of acting training, and I use that. I'm really just a dork. I mostly make a lot of jokes, hump speakers, pick on the audience, run around the stage, and take it off in a dramatic moment. It's cool.

    You're this white Jewish girl from Pennsylvania, rapping—a female Beastie. How's the reception been?
    Knock on wood, so far so good. They think I'm dope and they definitely think I'm weird. I like that, because I don't want to fall into a cliche. I mean, I am a white girl doing hip-hop. I'm not trying to be anything I am not. This is just the format I love and want to work in. I've gotten so much support, even down to who's on this record.

    Do people ever just go, "Uh, right?"
    Some people can't really get it that I do rap and I do produce. I think they just want to try and keep me in the singing slot. I mean, I sing a little bit, but mostly I just rap and make music.

    Well, it's easier to imagine a hot girl singing than I hot girl rocking the mic.
    That's the only part I have trouble with in the hip-hop community. The indie-rock scene, which I was more part of in '95, is all into girls making music. I think the hip-hop community has yet to catch up with that, because there aren't many female music producers. There's Missy Elliot and... you know, that's all I can think of! I'm dying to work with her. I met her once at a party and gave her my CD, but...

    Now you run your own label, called the Corrupt Conglomerate. Where are all the hottie boy interns fetching the coffee?
    If any of the boys from this magazine would like to call me up, I have many positions open. I have many slots to fill.

    What's the best part about being Princess Superstar?
    That first moment when you create a song that you know is gonna rock your world. When you write a really great line or you hear the music you created and you're like, Oh my God—it's a beautiful feeling. The other thing is the love that you get from people who really get what you're doing. One guy sent me a letter that was like, "Your music helped save my marriage." And when younger girls tell me that I inspire them. I'm really lucky.

    Any freaky fans?
    Yeah. One time this guy was like, "I noticed you were smoking on your first two album covers. I have a smoking fetish and I think you're really hot." I was like, "I quit smoking two years ago."

    What's the replacement?
    Eating. And sex.

    Well, you are the woman who sang "I Like Sex."
    That's right I do.

    — Marcelle Karp

     
    Article reprinted without permission.