13 QUESTIONS ????????????
With Princess Superstar!

It’s been an exciting year for Concetta Kirchner, known to the hip hop community’s savviest hipsters as the hot-hot Princess Superstar. After self-producing and releasing her records for six or seven years, she signed up with Rapster Records, who are also distributing Jazzy Jeff and the Eastern Conference/High and Mighty, among others. Now, she can not only afford to actually OWN the clothes she wears on her album covers (she took the Gucci suit and Kangol back to Macy’s after she posed in them for the cover of her second album, C.E.O.), she’s also touring the nation and filming videos for her incredible new mix of battle-rhyme savvy and sex-goddess attitude, Princess Superstar Is…

If you haven’t heard Princess Superstar’s music, you don’t really have an idea of how far out hip hop can get. Imagine ‘Left Eye’ Lopez (R.I.P) rapping with a flow somewhere between Eminem’s and Biggie Smalls’ about the joys of babysitting while on stolen Valium…about how even Jewish girls like herself hope Santa will help them sell lots of records at Christmastime…about pasting concert flyers on telephone poles on the way to her day job…about vomiting gin and pills on Phil Collins.

And about sex. Lots…and lots…of sex.

1. First off, could you give us a short history of how you got into doing this? You started off in punkish rock bands, where the media comparisons to Debbie Harry made a lot more sense, but at what point did Princess Superstar-as-MC first really come together?

I was always rapping from when I first conceived of Princess Superstar, in 1993…but I was also playing guitar, keyboards, singing, etc. I guess the rap overtook me -- I really sucked at first but I kept at it because I loved it.

3. How different is Princess Superstar from Concetta? Has the character (if you say there is one) or the dichotomy between record and real life changed at all in the past six or so years?

The persona is pretty different from me, that's explored in my song “Dichotomy” (off the new album). I think I invented Princess Superstar because I can be shy and insecure sometimes. What's changed over the years is that P.S. gave me some confidence, I think!

4. Who are some of the musicians who got you interested in hip hop in the
first place? Did you listen as a kid uptown, or was it something that you heard more distantly from PA? Who are some of the musicians you're feeling nowadays?

I was only 3 years old [when her family moved to Pennsylvania from Harlem], so no, it had nothing to with uptown (even though I could get so much "cred" (laughs). I was into Run DMC, Queen Latifah, Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, and then later P.E., Brand Nubian, N.W.A., Black Sheep, you know, the usual. Now I’m feeling Jean Grae (writer’s note: you may have heard Ms. Grae under her other stage name, Whut Whut), Missy Elliot, Ghostface Killah.

5. Do you think of your vocal/rhyming style as being influenced by anyone in particular?

My rhyming is influenced by everyone from Kool Keith to Biggie to Missy to Jay Z, really -- listening to great people has made me a good rapper. I have my own flow, but I wouldn't have it if I didn't listen and get influenced.

6. How about your beats?

As far as my beats, I’m more influenced by, like, Zeppelin and DJ Shadow!

7. One of the things I like about your stuff is that when you have collaborations with other MCs, or DJs, or whatever, they don’t feel market-driven. More like, you meet someone, you vibe with them, you try making a track. Do you see that as a part of hip hop culture more than a part of rock-band culture?

I think it's cool in hip hop culture you are encouraged to hook up and make stuff together. It's less that way in rock -- although the plus side of that is that you tend to do more stuff yourself, play instruments as well as sing, et cetera. In hip hop everyone limits themselves a bit by only being an "MC" or "producer" -- rarely is someone both. But I digress. I am very honored to have worked with the people I have worked with. It elevates your music.

8. How many times can someone collaborate with Kool Keith before they're just too dirty to fit in with the rest of society?

There is no limit to working with Kool Keith. He's a genius!

9. Hate to even mention it, but I read that SPIN article about white female MCs called "Feminem" or somesuch, and I noticed that you were the only one who wasn't working through some form of a management team or major label. Do you think that what the labels are looking for is a more pop MC, ala Icy Blue from way back? I kinda see you as more like the funny version of Anti-Pop or some of the Def Jux stuff, myself.

Yeah I relate to that much more, being underground. That article really bummed me out. It was so stupid and sad that people have to make these categories like "white girl MC". Fuck that! I am also a "white girl guitar player." I really fight against being in any kind of category. Which probably won't help me sell any records.

10. Yeah, well, I can’t really imagine that “Natasha” from that article will have a fanbase like yours, or make anything as interesting as “Kool Keith’s Ass”…

The song, not the ass itself.

11.  When I first met you, you were distributing your records through the Corrupt Conglomerate, you were arranging your shows yourself, etc. Has signing to Rapster changed that at all?

Yes, everything has totally blown up so much bigger. Four or five interviews a day lately. I feel so lucky!

12. Am I one of the people you dis in "You Get Mad at Napster"? (“You get mad at Napster when nobody's even heard of you/I did a search on your name and came up with 1 result- It was your computer”) Seriously, though, you're a musician who just quit her day job finally, what's your take on the whole free-music thing?

No, of course not! That was for someone else who was harassing me on the Internet -- not you. I think music should be free. I loved Napster.

13. Any final message you want to get out there? Any smoke signals you want to send through a ‘cartoon reviews and Bond Girls’ site?

I wanna do a collab with Ghostface Killah and Dolly Parton on the same song!! Serious!

-This exclusive retroCRUSH interview is brought to you by MC Stopheles, of the Hardcore Horror-Rap act, Old Scratch.  You can listen to his music HERE. I recommend "2000 Maniacs" (of course) where you can hear him rhyme Bob Saget with Maggot.

And of course, visit Princess Superstar's site, HERE.  She's currently working on a 4th album, and stealing my heart.

-Robert Berry