Junior Katie Feinberg parodies classics from the Notorious B.I.G. to Ice Cube.
STORY | JULIA NELSON
PHOTO | MARK OWEN
The world has a new parody rap star, and she’s wearing a horse mask.
Katie Feinberg, a junior media arts and design major, is showing the world she has something to say through her tongue-in-cheek hip-hop videos under the alias Real $lim Katie, or R$K for short.
“I don’t want any lawyers coming after me,” she says, hoping her moniker isn’t too similar to Eminem’s alter ego Slim Shady.
When Feinberg was in grade school, she’d use raps to study for her classes and always had an infatuation with gangster-rap artists such as The Notorious B.I.G. and A Tribe Called Quest. About a year ago, she was playing video games with one of her friends when he made up an entire rap about the game Grand Theft Auto. It looked like so much fun, she decided to try it herself.
Around this same time, parody rapper Lil Dicky was scheduled to perform at JMU. Feinberg was researching his career and found out that David Burd, the man behind Lil Dicky, began parody rapping to make a name for himself and become a screenwriter. Feinberg’s ultimate dream is to become a romantic comedy screenwriter, and she thought that she could combine her rap infatuation and comedy affinity to do something similar.
“One day, the dream is someday someone sees this and likes what they see,” Feinberg says about her rap videos helping launch her professional career as well. “And I can be like, ‘Here, take this.’”
And thus, her act was born.
“Girly, nerdy rap basically,” Feinberg says. “Real $lim Katie is a parody rap extraordinaire with only one song thus far, but Real $lim Katie productions are always in motion.”
As of right now, the only R$K music video Feinberg has uploaded to her YouTube channel is a “remix” of the song “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. — she filmed it with her friends in multiple locations during different times of year, whenever she went back home for breaks from school.
“We would just go to random places and people would be like, ‘What are you doing?’” Feinberg says. “And I’d be like, ‘I’m a parody rap star, duh.’”
In her “Juicy” video, R$K wears a plethora of rapper-esque clothing clad with normal college kid attire. Think fur coats, big shiny necklaces and Harry Potter T-shirts. Oh, and R$K’s trademark ADIDAS sweatpants.
“I’m all about that juxtaposition,” Feinberg says.
Her other trademark is a rubber horse mask, which she wears in the video a few times.
The video parodies Biggie’s introduction to the “Juicy” video by opening with R$K saying, “This album is dedicated to my undiagnosed gluten allergy, trying to get me all in my feels when I’m trying to have some pizza … or a sandwich.”
The rest of the lyrics juxtapose the original content of the song performed by Biggie Smalls. While his version raps about how he dropped out of school and was “considered a fool,” R$K explains that in high school, she studied hard and was “considered uncool because Harry Potter rules.”
Feinberg wants to show her followers that something doesn’t have to be conventional in order to be “gangster.” Over the summer, she did an internship in Los Angeles with a studio whose job was to connect high-profile social media users with brands to help them get rich. She saw the worst side of superficiality, and noticed that most of the users’ followers were young, impressionable people.
“So many young kids are looking up to these YouTubers who are just talking about their life, like all of this Gucci stuff,” Feinberg says. “They have millions and millions of comments of girls who want to be like them and want to look like them but all they’re showing is stuff that’s on the surface.”
As she helped the studio make Justin Bieber lookalikes and Barbie doll wannabes become famous, Feinberg’s eyes were opened — she knew she wanted to say something important.
“There’s more than just your looks and posting booty pics,” Feinberg says. “Everything is so fake now.”
Feinberg wants to use R$K to show people that liking nerdy things and saving money on your Chipotle order is cool too. As she works her way into the entertainment industry to pursue her dreams, she plans on doing so on her own terms without conforming to Hollywood standards. Her goal is to use social media to express creativity and personality.
“Being super awkward and loving Harry Potter is gangster,” Feinberg says. “It’s not all about big-booty hoes and stacks of money.”
The “Juicy” video was posted back in April 2016, but Feinberg is working on a new song for R$K. It’s a parody of Ice Cube’s song “It Was a Very Good Day,” titled “It Was an Okay Day.”
“I just know that I love to write,” Feinberg says. “I want to just keep doing what I want to do and doing silly things. Hopefully, it falls in the right hands or something and I can just get my script out there.”
Through R$K, Feinberg is going to keep spreading the word, ADIDAS sweatpants and all.
“I feel like I’m just a walking cliché,” Feinberg says. “But I think just being yourself is cool.”