The difference between Cinderella and Kirschner, though, is that Kirschner didn't wait to get hers. And her story doesn't involve a glass slipper, but rather, the glass ceiling of white females in hip-hop. As the CEO of her own label, the Corrupt Conglomerate, Kirschner has taken a completely independent approach to building a hip-hop persona, with indie rock insight and a genre-spanning "flip-flop" sound she considers real hip-hop.
"What I loved about hip-hop in the mid- to late-'80s is how people were so diverse, yet it was still considered hip-hop," says Kirschner. "You'd end up having Black Sheep doing hilarious shit right next to Public Enemy politics, mixed with Anthrax! Now what's going on in hip-hop is not so interesting. What I try to do is marry some of the best elements of hip-hop then use other genres as well, like classic rock or drum 'n' bass, making a new thing along the lines of the classic openness of hip-hop."
Of course, some people aren't as open toward the idea of a white Jewish girl calling herself hip-hop. Some have tried to reduce Princess Superstar to a soundbite: "The female Eminem," "The white Lil' Kim." But to Kirschner, her background simply provides the dichotomies that allow her to shape her persona. Where inner-city black males can craft their image in rhyme as tough street warriors, Princess Superstar offers us the "Bad Babysitter": "I'm a bad
babysitter, got my boyfriend in your shower/Woo! I'm making six bucks an hour."
"I bring stuff to music that men can't because of my female sensitivities and experiences," says Kirschner. "But I think I'm forced to explain myself more than I wish I had to, and I think it's pretty pathetic. When I'm rhyming about sex, I'm doing what every male artist from fucking heavy metal to country has been singing about. I don't think they ask Biggie Smalls why he rhymes about sex. But that's just our culture, so I just do my thing."
Kirschner's thing for now is taking Princess Superstar Is on the road. While the album features artists from Kool Keith to Bahamadia, Mr. Len to Beth Orton, you won't see any of them on tour. What you will see, though, is a high-energy, schizophrenic mix of live band performance, carefully planned performance art and near stand-up comedy.
"I don't do the traditional, 'Put your hands in the air,'" says Kirschner. "You're gonna get a little bit of everything when you see me. I don't like cliches. We've had all kind of weird people come on stage. People who want to breakdance, people who want to take their clothes off. People who want to attempt to kiss me, girls and boys. And I love it all, because the audience is just as much a part of the show as I am. I become inspired by what the audience is giving me. I don't love it to the point where I want you on the stage the whole time, but if you want to do something, come on, do it and get off."
And if there's one message Princess Superstar would like to impart, with all the innuendos and nastiness intended, that would surely be it: Come on, do it and get off.
Princess Superstar performs Fri., April 19, at the Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Ave. DJ Swivel opens. $10. 9 p.m. (doors). 404-681-3600.www.echostatic.com/echolounge.
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