Dispatches

She’s Gotta Have It

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 DISPATCHES

“This pussy’s got four stars in Zagat’s/Attack it,” snarls hip-hop provocateur Princess Superstar on her new album, Is, a smart, relentlessly funny party record that takes the proud-slut posturing of Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown to the next level. Ms. Superstar — given name: Concetta Kirschner — fantasizes about turning rappers into male housewives, objectifies Eminem’s ass and spits complex similes faster than Dennis Miller in 1992. Tracks like “Bad Babysitter” and “I Love You (Or at Least I Like You)” — with its declaration “I got sexists begging to make me breakfast” — sound like she’s crashing a deconstructive-feminist reading group while drunk on Colt 45. A Philadelphia native, Kirschner has been sinking her nail tips into the New York underground hip-hop scene for a decade; this is the fourth album she’s released on her own label. What Is is: the rare hip-hop album that doesn’t take itself seriously but deserves to be taken. What Is isn’t: any sort of novelty. We recently asked Superstar some impertinent questions. Then we played the Match Game.

How do you sell yourself?

Well I don’t have to sell it anymore, because people have sort of already bought it. I think I’ve written a hit song. I’m in Germany, and “Bad Babysitter” is huge over here. I just finished a show, and I’m trapped in a stairwell ’cause there are screaming fans outside. It’s like A Hard Day’s Night.


The Cinemax After Dark version, no doubt. How did you get comfortable with putting yourself way out there sexually?

My parents were hippies back in the day, and they’ve always been pretty free in talking about sex. Now I find it’s fun to be in hip-hop talking about it as a woman, because the men have been talking about it for years, and it’s great that the women can finally represent.


Is “Bad Babysitter” — where the babysitter makes the kid puke, screws her boyfriend in the shower and seduces the father as he drives her home — autobiographical?

Yeah, I used to be a babysitter.


That’s not what I mean.

Some of those things are true, some of them aren’t. [Laughs] Most of those are not true. I always took real good care of the kids, let’s put it that way.


Listening to the album, the perception would be that you’re pretty well-laid.

I know. Well-paid and well-laid, honey, right? Well, it couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot of it is imagination, to be honest. I don’t get that much in real life. This album is all about frustration.


Quote from album: “I got a dichotomy inside of me like sodomy.” Explain.

[Wild laughter] That song is the difference between Concetta and Princess. I’m sort of shy around guys, and Princess Superstar is really  . . . not. I just meant to say that the dichotomy is very deep inside, and I suppose that’s the deepest you can go inside, right?


I guess. Quote from magazine interview: “I’m really a romantic at heart, but I’m also a fucking slut.” Explain.

[Wilder laughter] I don’t really sleep around, but I like to make out with a lot of guys.



Have we re-entered a slut-positive era?

[Wildest laughter] I think so. I hope so. I’ve always hated the double standard of the words “slut” and “stud,” especially when it comes to hip-hop. It’s really not fair that men can sleep around and be considered players. I think that now, more and more, we’re becoming people, not labels, and if that means we’re more slut-positive, sure.


Who is your sexual idol?

I love the old school: Brigitte Bardot, Mae West. Mae was so amazing, she used to take so many risks, she was such a badass back then. Same for Marlene Dietrich — they broke so many barriers and took risks with their sexuality. And Brigitte Bardot, she was so fucking hot. She’s like candy, you know?


Are you a feminist?

Oh yeah. Just by virtue of what I’m doing. I’m writing, I’m producing, I’ve owned a record label for years. I think that being frank about sex is good for women who are taught that they can’t talk like men in that way, that it can be used against you. It’s still used against me. In Germany, they told me I was too sexy, that I looked like a porn star. It can be flipped against you, and that’s really not fair. There’s Fabolous, who’s a hot young rapper — he can appear with his shirt off, and he’s not being accused of being too sexy.


Are you a role model?

I think I am, mostly because I run my show and handle all my business. The only problem is now, especially in London, “Bad Babysitter” has become a favorite among ten- to thirteen-year-old girls, and that upsets me because I didn’t intend for that to happen. The song is for older people who can appreciate the irony. I think girls should learn about sexuality early and be free about it, but maybe not at ten.


Quote from album: “Everyone tells me I’m the female Eminem/What I’m going to talk about is getting fucked up the ass then.” Any feedback from Eminem’s camp on that one?

[Slightly nervous laughter] That was a dig at the media more than Eminem, but it was also a dig at Eminem’s homophobia. I think that Eminem is a really talented lyricist and, um, that’s fine if people want to compare me, but  . . . no, I haven’t had any feedback. Yet.


Have you ever gotten sexually aroused onstage?

Oh, all the time. It’s really hot when everyone’s eating out of the palm of your hand.


“I Love You (Or At Least I Like You)” is the story of a male ho who’ll only date women who pay him. “If you were wearin’ a skirt, I’d tell you to hike it,” you tell him. Did you write the song to flip the Lil’ Kim thing?

Hmm . . . I wasn’t really flipping the Lil’ Kim thing; I was trying to flip the whole hip-hop thing. You know, there’s that Biggie song that goes, “You must be used to all this wining and dining/While I’m fucking you tonight.” So in the song, I sing that back to this male rapper, J-Zone. There’s also a Dre song where he says, “You can’t make a ho a housewife” and so I tell J-Zone I’m going to make him my housewife. I did it for feminism. [laughs]


Still, Kim’s basically a male-created fantasy, and here, you own it.

I think she’s wonderful. On her first album, she had those lines like, “Fuck blackberry molasses/Out the asses,” and “Gettin’ head from the Harlem Boys Choir.” It was hilarious. Unfortunately, Biggie wrote a lot of her lines, so it takes away a lot of her power, but I still think she’s great.

Last thing: have you ever watched reruns of the Match Game?

No.

Well, it’s on the Game Show Network, and it’s the shit. We’re going to play right now. I’ll give you a sentence, and you fill in the blank. These are questions that were actually used in the ’70s version of the show. Okay. “You know when you’re at a really wild party when you see BLANK in every room.”

Lots of drugs.


You have to use a one-word answer. “After Selma married the surgeon she said, ‘Every night it’s like an operation — the first thing he does is BLANK me.'”

Gyno-exam!


That’s not one word. You’re not very good at this.

Sorry!


“Dumb Dora is so dumb… She can’t even remember how to close her BLANK.”

Eyes.


Legs! The answer is legs!

Shit.


“The princess said, “Having 100 suitors is terrific! What’s terrible is only having one BLANK.”

Condom.

More NERVE INTERVIEWS:

She’s Gotta Have It  

Princess Superstar on making tracks, making out and mastering the male ho. 

Tales from the Dark Side  

With Storytelling, Todd Solondz gets the kinks out of the coming of age flicks. 

 

© 2002 Michael Martin and Nerve.com, Inc.