Nancy Drew Crew's 'whitebread' hip-hop mystifies


Nancy Drew Crew Oct 26 w/Dance Band, Beatrix Jar Pi Bar 2532 25th Ave S Minneapolis, MN

Replace the bling with beads and the designer labels with hand-sewn stitches— there’s a new hip-hop trio in town and they’re not kidding when they shout DIY. As white as Minnesota winter, the members of Nancy Drew Crew are quite far from your typical rappers and so are their feminist friendly messages, ranging from rhymes about soil contamination, critiques of the university system, misogyny and even hygiene. Intelligent and just plain witty, MC Smells, Miss Mayhem and their DJ, Skullbuster, sat down for a quick chat and explained more about their extremely quirky take on hip-hop.

CP: Do you consider yourself rappers? MC Smells: MCs. Miss Mayhem: I call myself a FemC.

What’s with the names?

MC Smells: It’s cuz I smell. Smelly Kelly was my nickname. According to some people I stink. I think I smell fine. Miss Mayhem: No reason. Sounded bad-ass. Wanted to sound hard-core. It is the name of a Pro-wrestler, not that I identify with pro-wrestlers. Skullbuster: The name was given to me by a friend because I’ve actually busted my skull a couple times.

Why Nancy Drew Crew? MC Smells. Nancy Drew and the Case of the Missing Friendship Elephants was way too long.


So you guys are not stereotypical “rappers”— how did this happen? MC Smells: Everybody has that reaction. I can’t sing for shit. So I started writing rap songs for a Dance Band contest.

I wrote 28 rap songs in 28 days and put them on my voicemail. I think anybody could do it.

Anybody? I doubt that. MC Smells: Probably not dumb people. Oh god. Don’t write that. Miss Mayhem: No, you’re right. Anybody could do it…but not as well as we do. Skullbuster: Oh snap! (said with a high five and slight eye roll).

Can you guys freestyle? Miss Mayhem: Ha! We did once. One really good one. Lets re-create it now. Skullbuster: Then that wouldn’t be freestylin’. MC Smells: We’re not really the freestylin’ type anyway. We’re so particular and very critical of our writing. We always want to make sure we are sending the right message.

So Skullbuster, why make beats for NDC? Skullbuster: I saw potential. I’ve been making electronic music in my room for years as a fun project and when I met Kelly, we were just on the same page, so it works.

Are you a “Feminist DJ”? Skullbuster: Sure. MC Smells: Well, what would that even mean? "This beat is so feminist-- no gender oppression in this beat!"

When do you find yourself getting inspiration to create songs/lyrics? MC Smells: We usually make an idea web. Miss Mayhem: Especially for the song about soil contamination. We even had a research period.

What kind of subjects are your favorite to rap about? Miss Mayhem: Mysteries. In our song about soil contamination, we travel back in time and have a dance party to stop the plant from contaminating the ground. Skullbuster: That’s actually a true story. MC Smells: We like writing subject matter you don’t usually hear in hip-hop. We’re just two white, college-educated women and the writing we do reflects that. We’re not talking about eatin’ grits.

Favorite lyrics? MC Smells: From “College Inc”: “I went to the ivory tower. I could tell you what its like. Ivory tower says it all. Almost everybody’s white.” Skullbuster: The one line I’ve contributed: “We’re trying to bring the beats to y’all. We’re spreading out like urban sprawl.” Miss Mayhem: From “Deodorant Conspiracy”: “I might be ripe when I get off my bike, but when you smell me don’t gripe unless you wanna start a fight.”

-- Amber Schadewald