Band Name: K. Flay
Sound/sounds like: On her self-titled debut EP, the young MC, born Kristine Flaherty, flashed an elastic flow and a quick wit, rhyming atop beats that rumbled like traffic on crowded city streets and throbbed like packed discos. More recently the rapper, who spins engaging tales about the mundanity of day-to-day life, has gravitated towards airy, electro-spiked beats that leave more room for her dense wordplay.
Snoop Dogg to Passion Pit. She's also responsible for a fully sanctioned remix of the Beastie Boys track "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win." Look for Flay to release new music by the end of the year ("I know that's vague," she says), with a full-length album still TBD.
Interviewed: Kristine "K. Flay" Flaherty, 26, Brooklyn-by-way-of-Wilmette
There aren't many white, female, suburban rappers out there. Did it feel like there were extra hurdles for you to overcome?
There's the novelty factor of it because not many people in the hip-hop realm are white women, but that being said, the community is getting more diversified because everyone in my generation has really grown up with hip-hop as an integral part of pop culture.
Do you think there are things you can get away with talking about in your music that maybe a male rapper couldn't?
[Laughs] Totally! It's actually kind of a joke that, like, in every song I mention food. I'm thinking the way other people talk about sex in songs is how I talk about food. Perhaps it can be a little bit easier to talk about more emotional stuff too, although you've got someone like Kid Cudi who's very emotional in a lot of his songs. But women, sensitive souls that we are, are given a little more leeway in that department, I suppose.
You've opened for Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Passion Pit. Who had the best backstage spread?
Passion Pit had a really nice spread. They used to get all these donuts and everyday I'd be like, "Oh man, I kind of want one of those donuts." But I restrained myself.
Since your family no longer lives in Wilmette, does that mean you won't get the full Thanksgiving experience before your homecoming show here?
I'm actually going to be in Oakland, which is where my mom lives, the day before the show and then I'm flying out early in the morning. So I will have some family Thanksgiving, which will be nice.
What's your favorite part of the holiday?
I make these really amazing sweet potatoes, so probably the satisfaction of making them and having everybody say, "Man, these are so good." It's a nice self-esteem boost when you get to the low times. It's like, "Well, at least I can make sweet potatoes." They're not good for you, but they're super delicious. The secret is lots of butter.
You drop a lot of basketball references on your EP. Did you play in college?
Not in college. I wish. I just played through high school, and these days I play on small hoops now and again.
How do you think you'd fare against other rappers on the court? Like could you take Master P?
Oh god, he would kill me! He was going to be a professional athlete! Probably everyone could take me, though a lot of musicians are surprisingly awful at sports. I've never actually had a ton of hip-hop basketball challenges. Maybe I need to change that.
You've started reviewing books on your website (kflay.com). In your opinion, what's one book everyone should read?
Local Q&A: K. Flay
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