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[courtesy Princess Superstar] Princess Superstar Interview
Author: Adam Bernard

A dozen years ago Princess Superstar was a rebellious youth who penned a song all about being a "Bad Babysitter." On this particular day, she's on a beach in The Hamptons, corralling her own kiddo, while serenely celebrating the release of her latest project, an EP titled "I'm a Firecracker."

While her attitude may have mellowed a bit over the years, her music, with songs like "I'm a Firecracker," clearly still taps into some classic Princess Superstar wildness. Classic being an appropriate word, because while other female rappers with pop sensibilities have made an impact on Top 40 radio, Princess Superstar, it could be argued, paved the way for all of them.

RapReviews caught up with the New York City native during her day at the beach to talk about blazing that path, as well as her new music, and the controversy surrounding fellow female hip-hop artist Iggy Azalea.

Adam Bernard: Before we get to your new EP there's something I'm hoping you'll be able to address. Iggy Azalea is the biggest thing going right now, and because of that she's faced some harsh criticisms, one of the harshest being that she's a product of white privilege.

In their critique of her, said, "We simply must acknowledge that Azalea's meteoric rise in the male-dominated hip hop culture has as much to do with her whiteness as it does her talent ... The hip hop star's skin color, blonde hair, slim figure, and propensity for twerking is an embodiment of white privilege ... Understanding that Azalea and her white female contemporaries encounter fewer barriers is important to contextualizing their presence in hip-hop."

With that in mind, and knowing you're a white artist, with blonde hair, a slim figure, and, in your latest video, a propensity for twerking, do you feel hip-hop has a love affair with white women that I am just completely unaware of?

Princess Superstar: {*laughs*} No. The answer would be no. I'll tell you where she might have the advantage is in pop music. I think what we're talking about here is pop music. I think that she has this advantage in pop because of her whiteness, that's what I think, not hip-hop.

AB: What kind of hurdles have you encountered in your career, and were any of them specifically race related?

PS: I've gotten booed a lot in my career, and I'm glad it never made me soft. I think in a certain way it's harder, because people aren't... I know I hear about Iggy, and people say she must have slept her way to the top to get there, but as far as I know she had a pretty hard story. It's really a strange thing. I just think it's hard for women in general in hip-hop, let alone your color. You really don't see very many women rappers making it at all, and I think she got to number one because she's very pop. It's like, Nicki Minaj didn't get to number one when she was doing like that "Itty Bitty Piggy" thing. I loved that, (but) she got to number one by singing, and doing some cheesy hooks. I personally have faced a lot of hurdles. I think, take the race out of it. It's kinda more about being a woman, I think.

AB: Do you remember any specific hurdle, or door being slammed in your face, due to your gender?

PS: First of all, I do want to say that I think it's hard for anyone to make it in music, period. Man or woman. It's a hard freaking game. I'm surprised that I'm still around. It's a miracle. As far as being a woman, I think it's more along the lines of not really being taken seriously, or having to prove yourself a little bit harder, that you can actually rap, or that you are keeping it real to your experience.

I didn't grow up in the ghetto. Actually that's not true, I was born in the ghetto, but I was not raised in the ghetto {*laughs*}. I keep it real to my experience. I keep it authentic to what I've been through, and I think Iggy does that, as well. She's had a hard life. It is kind of strange that she's Australian and she raps in a southern accent. That part is kind of weird to me, but the thing is she's authentically her, and I think that's what is important when you're an artist, keeping it authentic. I never try to be something I'm not. I don't think Iggy does either. I think it's just hard, in general, as a woman. I had a baby. That took me out of the game for three years.

AB: You knew it would take you out of the game for at least nine months.

PS: And if you want to be a good mom it's three years. You can pass it off to your nanny, but I'm not gonna do that.

AB: When you see someone like Iggy, or like Kesha, utilizing a bit of what you created in terms of musical style and, for lack of a better term, swagger, does it irk you, or do you view them almost like being part of a sisterhood, and put them in your playlist?

PS: When it really hurt me was when I was taking time off to have a baby, and I was just watching these girls get ahead. I got really frustrated. Then I realized I have this amazing life, and I have this amazing career, and all the things that I've experienced in the world, and I just was like you know, it's OK, let them do their thing, it's different from what I'm doing anyway, and there's room for lots of different artists. It's hard enough for women to make it. That's the bottom line. So let them have their fame, and their money. It's good. It's hard out there.

AB: You just gave listeners a handful of new songs to put into their playlists, as your latest EP, Firecracker, was released last week. Other than the time off you took to be a mom, what was going on in your life that inspired the content of this album?

PS: Having a baby, and also being newly married, I discovered I had a lot anger issues. {*laughs*} Like Eminem, I guess. I don't know. So I wanted to write about that. I'm working on my anger issues, but I wanted to make a fun, party, dance track at the same time. I love doing that. I love making a deeper song in the context of a party track.

AB: You filmed part of the video for the album's lead single, "I'm a Firecracker," in Times Square. Being that you're dealing with anger issues, at any point did you get into a beef with the Naked Cowboy and just have to kick the crap out of him?

PS: {*laughs*} No.

AB: That's unfortunate, because that would have been great.

PS: {*laughs*} That would have been good on video, but I don't think I want to get near that guy.

AB: Staying with the album, the song "Love Light Bliss" was mixed by Richard Gottehrer, who produced for the Go-Gos and Blondie. Let's fly into imagination-land for a minute here. You, Debbie Harry, and Belinda Carlisle are sitting at a coffee shop, what's the conversation going to be about?

PS: Probably how hard it is to remain being an artist, and keep current, and keep making money.

AB: Are there any secrets you think you'd all share in terms of being strong women in the music industry?

PS: Definitely. I think it's about following your heart, and doing the music you really want to do, and making music for yourself instead of trying to make hits.

AB: Ignoring the fact that Belinda Carlisle is kind of a born again type now, which of the three of you would be getting the other two into the most trouble?

PS: I think Debbie Harry. I met her once and she was all with the champagne and everything. I was like whoa, OK, go girl! I'm pretty clean living these days, so I'm not getting into much trouble except for on record, I guess.

AB: All your trouble involves chasing after a kid.

PS: Exactly, and that's a lot of trouble. Believe me. That's WAY more trouble than popping bottles at the club.

AB: You had a life before you became a mom, and you worked with a litany of artists, including Kool Keith, MC Paul Barman, and Prince Paul. Which collaborative experience would you say was the craziest?

PS: Definitely Kool Keith, because HE'S the craziest. He's a wild guy. He's just really really funny. Being with Keith is kind of like being with a child. He just has no impulse control. He says whatever is on his mind, and does whatever he wants to do. He's very sweet, though, also in that sort of child-like nature. I really loved working with him.

AB: You note that he says what's on his mind. At any time did he say something where you were like, "Dude! Filter!"

PS: He definitely was super complimentary about me, but he was respectful. He didn't really try to hit on me, or anything. It just was like, "You look nice. You look real nice."

AB: "Super complimentary." I love that! I'm gonna use that. "I'm not hitting you, I'm being super complimentary."

PS: Exactly!

AB: You've also toured a lot. You've seen your fair share of stages over the past 15 years. What's been the wildest moment you've had while on the road, or performing?

PS: I don't know. It's crazy, when you've toured as much as I have things start to all go together, and it feels like everything was so wild, especially back in the day. I was the most wildest when I first started out because it was all so new to me. (Back) then I was really going crazy, getting trashed, fooling around with guy, groupies, and shit like that. I was crazy back in the day, and it's funny because I see some of the girls now sort of acting like that, like Brooke Candy, and stuff like that. It was totally awesome and fun, but I'm having so much more fun NOT doing that right now. Does that make sense? That was a certain kind of fun. That was really kind of irresponsible and crazy, but there's something to be said for having fun making amazing music, and having an incredible family. These are the things that I think are really fun now.

AB: That being said, is there anything from your past that you look back on and say, "I was young, I was dumb, and I'm glad I didn't know any better because if I did I wouldn't have X memory?"

PS: {*laughs*} Yeah. Oh my God, a lot of the time people remind me, like, "Oh, I haven't seen you in five years, do you remember when you did THIS?" I'm like, "Oh my God, I'm so sorry." (One time) I broke into somebody's hot tub with some friends. I remember we joked about that today, and I was mortified.

AB: Have you had a moment like that, with someone bringing up your past, while you were with your husband, or your kid?

PS: No, thank God, but my husband knows. I feel like everybody, when they're young, does stupid shit, it's just that when you're a musician, and you're touring, you get an opportunity to do crazy shit all over the world, and be remembered for it. That's the worst.

AB: In addition to your music you have a reality series coming out called I Love Princess Superstar. Other than being about your life, what's it going to entail?

PS: This is really awesome. I love it because I do have this kind of crazy life where I'm living on the Upper East Side, which is really wealthy, and we're not wealthy. We're kind like The Jeffersons in that respect. I'm married to a Spanish dude, so it's a little bit like I Love Lucy. We're just kind of this wacky family.

AB: You also teach a hip-hop class for one to eight year old kids. Obviously you're giving them the basics, but flipping that, what have you taken away from your experiences working with the youth?

PS: It's so awesome. When you can teach them how to freestyle, or you teach them how to rap, it's just so beautiful, and it inspires me. I'm gonna make a kids record, because there's just something so joyful and pure about kids, and they really get it. They love rhyming. You can see it in nursery rhymes, right? There's a reason why. It's made me want to make more fun music that makes kids happy.

Check out Princess Superstar at and @psuperstar.
Follow Adam @AdamsWorldBlog. Follow the site @RapReviews!

Originally posted: July 22nd, 2014

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