Krispy Kreme, or ‘Froggy Fresh’ as he’s known now that he’s big enough that copyright cares, is a strange strange little man who’s become oddly symptomatic of the internet success. A growing YouTube phenomenon, this diminutive rapper drew a following thanks to songs like ‘The Baddest’- where he threatens to fight you even if you had ‘infinity knives’ and claims that you ‘stink like a fart’- all the while being plagued by a nose that simply will not stop leaking snot. He also has 400 scarves and 400 houses, fought two lions and beat up everyone in jail. Basically, when not writing songs that are almost too bad to be true, he’s a busy guy. And, accompanied by the silent, bespectacled ‘Money Maker Mike’, his endearingly moronic deep-south drawl makes for pretty hilarious listening.
His follow up, Haters Wanna Be Me, is genius too in its childish braggadocio, though it’s almost upstaged by his vicious bowl cut. It’s also much better musically, and this is where things get interesting. ‘The Baddest’ was childish misadventures in rap, but ‘Haters Wanna Be Me’, one for the clubs apparently, is a seriously good beat. Even that semi-literate drawl sharpens up a tad and the hilariously painful rhymes disappear, sort of. You wouldn’t listen to ‘The Baddest’ for anything other than laughs but that’s not the case with ‘Haters Wanna Be Me’; funny as it may be it’s also infectious as hell.
Listen to his next song, ‘Best Friends’, and it’s yet another serious step up. This time it’s not even that funny, beyond the sweet childishness of the duo, and it’s even sorta touching at times. The whole song is actually sorta heavy, in a weirdly nostalgia-inducing way. The fact that the time in between the song releases has been interspersed with emotional outpourings from Krispy telling you to ‘follow your dreams’ only lends credence to the new-found seriousness. You kinda feel for Krispy; instead of laughing at him you’re rooting for him, you’re happy to see him develop and grow as a rapper and shed his humble beginnings.
Except Krispy Kreme doesn’t exist. Well, the delicious donuts do but the YouTube sensation doesn’t; or at least not as an innocent man-child from the deep-south anyway. He’s actually Tyler Cassidy. He’s from Michigan and graduated top of his class with a 3.95 GPA, which American college films tell me is smart. Smart enough to realise that funny and stupid sells better on the internet than serious and intelligent.
So Tyler Cassidy played the internet, he started out slow(literally) and gradually began to work in more complexity and more serious subject matter, until eventually you weren’t sure whether to smile at the endearing naivety of him and Money Maker Mike or reflect on the simple yet powerful messages at the core of his songs. All you know is you’re hooked and you want to see where he goes next.
Tyler had made previous efforts at breaking into the scene under his own name and on these he doesn’t hold back. They demonstrate a more than competent rapper that’s a far cry from his stilted alter-ego, and one tackling significantly weightier topics too. It’s just that it’s an entirely different voice; the change affected by Cassidy to become Krispy is staggering really.
So what’s he doing then? Is Cassidy trying to break in to the scene and then gradually morph into his real self? Because if so it’s working, and his audience are changing with him. Comments now focus on the skill of the songs themselves rather than their intentionally juvenile, and still humorous, nature. That aspect has even been incorporated quite effectively into Cassidy’s style, ironically lending it additional sincerity. The shift to the serious has become even more apparent with his timely name change, perhaps ditching any preconceptions of immaturity with Krispy Kreme and instead adopting, erm, Froggy Fresh. Silly name aside it does hint at a change, as evidenced by his first release under his new pseudonym, ‘Same Old Kid’, which, with its dramatically more accomplished sound, has the feel of a coming out about the true nature of this one-time joke.
Regardless what the truth behind Krispy and Tyler is it’s one of the most compelling narratives to emerge from the internet in the past 12 months, one that’s reeled me and many others in to the enigma of this oddly endearingly Alabama rapper. Even if Tyler is just using this character as a springboard for personal success I can’t help but wish him all the best with it, he’s been smart and played us like fools yet at the same time seems completely serious and committed to what he’s doing. This isn’t just a game for him; he’s just good at making it look that way.