Released more than a year after the viral success of her borderline-novelty hit “Gucci Gucci,” and pushed back a month from its original release date, Somethin ’Bout Kreay has a lot to prove to naysayers who only tolerated Kreayshawn as a curiosity, a condition that’s faded with time. On her debut full-length, the 23-year-old Bay Area rapper responds to that challenge with all the grace and charm of someone 10 years her junior, doling out a shrill 45 minutes of empty bluster that neither impresses nor intimidates; it only annoys. Kreayshawn assumes the posture of a petulant teenager convinced the popular girls don’t like her because she’s too intimidating, addressing her legions of “haters” nearly every other breath and dutifully repeating the term “swag” like it’s a shibboleth.
That approach aligns well enough with the anti-materialism screed of “Gucci Gucci,” and similarly locks in with a couple other songs off Somethin ’Bout Kreay—particularly “Breakfast (Syrup),” the only track with a beat lively enough and a conceit playful enough to justify Kreayshawn’s cartoonish insolence. But for the most part, Kreayshawn’s willfully obnoxious, monotonous anti-flow runs roughshod over epileptic beats that do nothing to elevate, or even provide an ironic counterpoint for, cheap, lug-headed boasts like “Now I’m finna make a scene, like I’m Amy Winehouse. (Rest in peace!)”
Most of the tracks on Somethin ’Bout Kreay plainly struggle to recapture whatever black magic “Gucci Gucci” possessed (opener “Blasé Blasé” is essentially “Gucci Gucci Pt. 2”), but the album’s handful of attempts to force Kreayshawn’s Adderall-addled persona into something other than mindless tantrum-rap cross the line from insipid into cringe-worthy. The R&B-tinged “Summertime” finds Kreayshawn struggling and failing to soften her nasal, agitated delivery to fit the song’s laidback vibe—though she’s downright smooth compared to the flailing guest verse from White Girl Mob associate V-Nasty, who manages the impressive feat of being more shrill than Kreayshawn. But it’s the ballad “BFF (Best Friend)” that really tests the limits of Kreayshawn’s shtick, her purposefully Auto-Tuned mewling highlighting the hollowness of ostensibly genuine sentiments like, “Remember those notes we passed? / I kept them in crystal glass / So every time I need a memory I look back.”
Personality has always trumped talent in the Kreayshawn formula, but Somethin ’Bout Kreay is a testament to the inadequacy of that approach, particularly when that persona is built on a foundation of puffed-up, “I don’t give a shit” shamelessness. There’s only so much blood to be squeezed from that stone, so instead, Somethin ’Bout Kreay contents itself with using that stone to bash listeners over the head.