NEW YORK — On Wednesday, while premiering their video for “Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” on MTV.com, the Red Hot Chili Peppers said they decided to scrap the version of the video that was originally directed by Bay Area rapper [artist id=”3953557″]Kreayshawn[/artist] — she of “Gucci Gucci” fame — and go with something that they felt was more “them.” If the news caused any damage to the budding female MC’s ego, it didn’t show last night. She was warmly embraced by a Big Apple crowd at the Highline Ballroom, her first official performance in New York City.
Diminutive and wiry, Kreayshawn burst onto the stage at 10:45, after the audience was treated to opening sets by rappers Moe Green, Roach Gigz, Phony Ppl and finally, Smoke DZA. Despite the openers, the energy in the venue initially remained icy. It resembled something of a showcase, with people anxious to see if the controversial rapper — who’s up for a Best New Artist award at the 2011 VMAs — could hold her own in front of a feisty and oft-critical New York audience. Speculation also abounded about whether or not her White Girl Mob counterpart V-Nasty would let loose with a barrage of N-words, as she’s recently come under fire for doing.
Kreayshawn didn’t seem swayed, though. Clad in a white Bathing Ape T-shirt, mom jeans and a colorful snapback cap, she squealed — often inaudibly, but not without a distinguishable melisma — over the backing vocal tracks of lesser-known cuts from her Kittys x Choppas mixtape (“Wavey”), and newer, unreleased material (“Left Eye”). Playful, petite and most of all, entertaining, she gingerly marauded from one end of the stage to the other.
The energy was turned up a notch, however, when V-Nasty took the stage. Donning a retro Charlotte Hornets cap, a plain white T-shirt and jeans, she tore into cuts from her Don’t Bite Just Taste mixtape, and then played Thelma to Kreayshawn’s Louise for the rest of the show.
The show’s climax, however, came when Kreay explored her most popular tunes. The opening synth blurps of “Bumpin Bumpin” got the entire crowd’s hands in the air, and then her DJ, Two Stacks, dropped the beat for “Gucci Gucci.” The audience sang back each line to Kreayshawn, while a random person walked onstage and took a courageous stage dive.
“Why there only guys up here?” Kreayshawn questioned, as the beat was halted. “I need a bad bitch up here.” Her request went unmet, but that didn’t stop the crowd from singing the song a capella until its end. She parted the stage amidst a dance party, singing the lyrics to Alexander O’Neal’s 1985 hit “Saturday Love.” It was a fitting, celebratory close to a night on which New York finally gave one of hip-hop’s most controversial new artists its nod of approval.