Mar 13, 2002 at 12:00 am
Dubbed “Feminem” by critics who only acknowledge female artists as limitations of, or variations on, their male contemporaries, NYC’s Concetta Kirschner (aka Princess Superstar) is a pro-sex provocateur who’s not only defiantly fearless and peerless, she’s one of hip hop’s most scathingly hilarious and self-aware word-slingers. “Everyone tells me I’m the female Eminem,” she cracks in her exhilaratingly original, mile-a-minute delivery. “Well, all I’m gonna talk about is getting fucked up the ass then.” The twist-tongue linguist’s not only poking fun at Slim’s homo-shady insinuations, though — she’s smartly playing off her stereotype as an insatiable slut and rejecting the notion that she’s some chauvinistic person(a)’s counterpart.

It’s this witty multiplicity — not, as often noted, Kirschner’s do-me manifestoes — that makes Princess Superstar Is so consistently compelling. It’s also that her fourth album is, primarily, one helluva party starter. With guest appearances by Kool Keith, Bahamadia and Beth Orton, and including some shockingly great got-your-groove-on songs, Is is an invigorating collection of fun dance floor numbers and raunch-rap anthems. And because she loads rhymes with two, three or more simultaneous meanings over her insta-infectious street beats, Kirschner subversively flips typical hip-hop scripts by spewing lines like “I got sexists beggin’ me to make me breakfasts” and telling men that she’s “gonna make you my housewife.”

Despite turning the tables on rap’s cock-clique culture, however, Kirschner, like ‘Lil Kim and Peaches, often problematically equates self-empowerment with sexual exhibitionism and consumerism (two things long sold to women as political liberation). Third Wavers might claim that Is is empowering and progressive because she’s calling the shots — maybe, maybe not — but as a white, Jewish female rapper, Kirschner pushes boundaries and buttons by simply speaking up. And she knows it too: “If you think my lyrics are incendiary,” she tells her male detractors, “then I’ll go back to being an insipid secretary/Won’t inspire no one, then the world will be safe.” Thankfully, however, she’d rather one-up than shut up.

E-mail Jimmy Draper at [email protected].