Princess Superstar: Princess Superstar Is

Princess Superstar Is

Here's to reader-response theory! If the meaning of music exists only in its interpretation by fans, then who cares about authorial intent? Despite Eminem's flamboyant homophobia, queer people will still think that his performance with Elton John qualifies as camp. And despite the fact that Jay-Z thinks he should be praised for overcoming a rough background, he's still a hero to kids because he gets paid millions to sing bling bling.

In this light, consider the listener's perspective on Princess Superstar: How do you interpret a Jewish, female hip-hop star who writes her own rhymes, produces her own tracks, and plays her own instruments, but whose hit song just happens to be in the voice of a teenage girl who enjoys giving her boyfriend head? If you're some kind of macho oaf, she could be your subordinate fantasy woman. If you're a pleasure-positive girl, she could be your third-wave feminist icon.

Or she could be both. On her debut album, Princess Superstar Is (Rapster), the Princess positions herself as both a female Eminem and a "black Shirley Temple"--never mind that both of these imagined entities are impossibilities, and that Superstar is white. With a razor-toothed wit and vast pop-culture knowledge, Princess creates a new status quo and then promptly ridicules it. She snaps quick quips about Oompa Loompas, crack, and Microsoft with equal flippancy, all over slow grooves and even occasional female backup vocals. (Diva whoops: They're not just for boys anymore!) When Ms. Superstar collaborates with Kool Keith, JZone, and Bahamadia, her hoochie pride becomes a dichotomy: Are these rappers helping her by appearing on her album, or is she doing them a favor by sexing up their image?

Whatever. Princess Superstar's fierce confidence is enough to make you forget Kool Keith entirely. Especially when she's talking about masturbating while baby-sitting. ("I want my daddy!" says the little boy on "Bad Babysitter." "I want your daddy as well!" replies Superstar.) Compare her with Eminem all you like: Marshall Mathers is neither this slim nor this shady.

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