The hip-hop mash-up royalty rapper Princess Superstar has always been unpredictable. As a DJ and recording artist she’s made a career of irreverent lyrics that are steeped in sex and irresistibly danceable. She’s collaborated with everyone from Kool Keith to Chilly Gonzalez and this spring she’ll show up with Grandmaster Flash on his first release in twenty years. In 2009, her latest project, New Evolution, will debut an altogether new persona.
The Rumpus: What’s happening these days? You’re working on demos for a new album?
Princess Superstar: I am and it’s the best music I’ve ever made so I am really excited.
The Rumpus: What’s inspired you?
Princess Superstar: Well I’ve changed a lot from My Machine, which came out in 2005. I’ve quit drugs and drinking and been into healthy stuff like yoga. Now having said that don’t worry it won’t be some lame New-Agey record or something like that! I am still bad-ass Princess Superstar, but I wanted to make some music with deeper meaning mixed with the fun and cool stuff I’ve been doing for so long.
The Rumpus: Healthy is good. It has to be a dance record, yes?
Princess Superstar: Actually it’s not a dance record. I kinda feel like I’ve done that and you know me, always moving… So it’s more like a hip hop/pop/rock record that you can dance to. If that makes sense. I love to mix genres and this record will be no different.
The Rumpus: What’s the deeper meaning you’re after?
Princess Superstar: I just feel like everyone (including myself) on the planet is a little confused; we are all so driven by consumption—shopping, eating, getting high, whatever—anything to not “feel” what is really going on. And we are all so self-obsessed, not really helping others as we should, spreading the love so to speak. So I address that, but you know, not in a totally literal way. I don’t like being preachy. I think using fun and humor is an excellent way to make people think.
The Rumpus: And your lyrics have hit on some of these themes before. My Machine was a lot about being a commodity yourself.
Princess Superstar: Exactly. So this is like more of that direction, but I feel more precise, more honed or something. It’s all coming together now so I don’t want to say too much, but it will be a whole mass movement!
The Rumpus: I love the way you’ve rapped about yourself as a writer—the “cunning linguist.” What is writing like for you?
Princess Superstar: It depends. Most of the time it’s not easy. I am not one of those writers that it just flows out of effortlessly. I have to sit and write and rewrite and sometimes it’s really challenging to get anything good out of myself. But then once I get going I have a good time and even make myself laugh sometimes.
The Rumpus: What’s the process like? Do you write on napkins in cafes or do you hunker down at home?
Princess Superstar: I hunker down at home and stare at the computer for hours and maybe get a few lines out. OK, it’s not that bad. But it feels like that sometimes. I just broke up with a boyfriend so I have a little writer’s block at the moment.
The Rumpus: Ouch. But that might be good fodder for later…
Princess Superstar: Oh yeah, it is right now actually. I am writing an angry song right now! But it turns peaceful because in the end you have to forgive otherwise you go crazy.
The Rumpus: Tell me about New Evolution, your new project. Is that part of your transformation?
Princess Superstar: It’s about finding love and joy inside of yourself. Not looking for outside sources of it. I want to inspire people to become their higher selves, their best selves. Sometimes that means putting down substances or habits that don’t serve that, and questioning your own thoughts/words/actions to really achieve that. But I also want them to dance and freak out while they are soul searching.
The Rumpus: But will you still be R-rated, I hope!?
Princess Superstar: Ha ha, well, a little bit here and there, old habits die hard.
The Rumpus: You’ve done a nice job avoiding the mainstream. Do you think the explicit lyrics steered you clear of that?
Princess Superstar: I’m not sure what kept me from the mainstream. I thought it was because I was too hard to pin down genre-wise. I don’t know, the sex/humor thing I feel I have done to death and now it’s time for something new. Maybe it will make me huge.
The Rumpus: I think you’re already huge and hard to pin down both, which is what makes you interesting. But you always look like you’re having a lot more fun, and that makes listening to you more fun.
Princess Superstar: Thanks for saying that. Everything I do has to come from a sense of fun and joy. I hope that other people can find that in themselves with what they do.