If you only exist online, are you real? After releasing her video for “Okay Cupid” last month, young Florida rapper Kitty Pryde practically broke the Internet, sparking frenzied attention around her unfiltered stream-of-consciousness lyrics and enchantingly flippant flow. But after waves of interviews and a new EP, haha, i’m sorry, out this past week, Kitty Pryde arrived at New York’s Knitting Factory with about 35 minutes total of career material and a throng of eager attendees anxious for a real taste of the hype.
“I think it’s really easy for people to hate me on the Internet. They see that one thing and they can just block out everything else,” Pryde told Rolling Stone before hitting the stage. “But I feel like in real life I’m a lot different than people think I’m going to be. At least now they get more than just that one dimension.”
With her best friend Annie and younger brother George – rocking an impeccable Skrillex hairdo – acting as hypemen, Pryde began her half-hour set with some hyper-self-aware banter, blaming her Dillard’s dress for continuously slipping off her chest. All smiles and bubbling with spirit, Pryde went right into “Justin Bieber,” a hazy tribute to the boy wonder.
“Am I doing this right?” asked Pryde, before jumping into “Ay Shawty: THE SHREKONING!!!!” Having only played around six shows by her estimate, usually armed with a supporting group of friends in the front row, Pryde admitted before her set, “This is very scary right now.” But she disarmed the crowd, and perhaps her own nerves, by relating charming stories of her life and rhymes – like how she wrote “Ay Shawty” for a guy, only to have the same dude call her out on the song to ask her to promote his band on her Facebook. As the audience groaned with sympathy, Pryde unveiled the kicker: he’s also getting married.
Pryde bounced through new cuts like “Orion’s Belt” (though featured guest rapper Riff Raff was unfortunately not in attendance) and “smiledog.jpg,” as well as older tracks like “Thanks Kathryn Obvious,” which caused quite the reaction with its “I can go a lot harder than Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada” Kreayshawn reference. Though the crowd first took it as a diss, Pryde became slightly embarrassed, pausing to laugh and make clear that the lyric was not a dig before professing her love for Kreayshawn, New York Times journalist Jon Caramanica and hip-hop writer Andrew Noz in individual shoutouts.
The Daytona Beach native closed her set with “Okay Cupid” and “Give Me Scabies,” the latter of which samples Carly Rae Jepsen’s inescapable smash “Call Me Maybe.” As the crowd sang along, people seemed pleased, excited, and energized by Pryde’s endearing confidence and charisma. “This is my first show where I didn’t know anyone, so if I did bad, I’m sorry,” she confessed as she left the stage. Despite feeling admittedly “overwhelmed,” Pryde has already started thinking about a full album, and has hopes for a full-blown tour. “You know on the Internet, you think of a weird fetish and you think there’s no one in the fucking world that’s into that. But then you go online and you’re like, ‘Yeah there is,'” she explains. “It’s a very big place, so somebody’s gotta be into it.” She’s certainly not wrong.