In this particular blog post I shall be dissecting part of the lyrics of RuPaul’s infamous Mash-Up from All Star’s 2 – Read U Wrote U. Regarding the lyrics as a form of beat poetry, the 3rd stanza – written by Brian McCook – will be the focus of our study. Why? Because why the fuck not?
The stanza is book-ended with the author’s pseudonym Yekaterina (Petrovna) Zamolodchikova. This reminds the reader that this is a biographical piece.
Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova
But your dad just calls me Katya
In previous works, McCook mentions Olympic gymnast [Elena} Zamolodchikova as one of his inspirations. One could look on this as transferred epithet of both the fluidity of the body, expressed in both McCook and Zamolodchikova, as well as the fluidity of gender demonstrated in his performance of the piece. Loosely translated, Petrovna means ‘rock.’ McCook’s intentions behind this name are not clear, however one could translate it has having a strong foundation, possibly by Anastasia Beverly Hills… “Yekaterina” is a Russian name with Greek origins, meaning “pure” or “wholesome.” The use of irony is clear here, as it is directly juxtaposed with the implications that Katya has slept with the readers’ fathers. The whore.
Before analysing the lyrics of the song, it is important to look at the structure of the poem. The verse follows a strict AAB CCB DDB EEB… pattern. This pattern is most commonly seen in a ballad. Ballads are a great way to tell stories, and are often used to convey a deeply meaningful event in life. We are introduced the character of Katya in the first line of the verse with a physical description.
I’m the bright red scare with the long blonde hair
Always keep ’em coming back for more
Here, McCook addresses the reader indirectly with the use of “’em” – which the reader feels to be part of. This is a common technique used in ballads as the reader can insert themselves into the story immediately, and can relate to it more easily. We also see the mention of her “long blonde hair” – a nod to Katya’s Russian heritage and femininity. The term “bright red scare” has connotations beyond the red clothes Katya typically wears. In the West “red scare” was a term synonymous with the fear of communism. That being said, the colour red has had a positive association long before it’s correlation to Communism. The words ‘red’ and ‘beautiful’ are similar in Russian, yet another reminder of the physicality of the author.
You’re a basic ass hoe and it’s your time to go
So bitch let me show you the door
Here, the context of the piece becomes evident. The author is reading the reader for filth, and placing the piece directly in a competition setting. Her intentions and implications are clear – Katya believes that she is superior to the reader, yet is humble enough to escort a bitch out. It shows a level of class that Katya possesses…
Cause it’s me whose getting laid and I’m always getting paid;
The only high class Russian whore
I’m a scorching hot mess in a skin tight dress
That’s a rash, not a herpes sore
The following lines of the stanza immediately re-enforce the marrying of Katya and class. However, the cognitive dissonance is evident to the reader, with the juxtaposition of ‘high class,’ ‘whore,’ and ‘mess.’ Again, the threat of communism is there multiple times. Once, with the mention of ‘scorching’ – giving connotations of the redness associated with it. The second time we are introduced to the concept in a more graphic way, whereby the reader is reminded on communism through the redness of
herpes a rash.
Lenin in the streets, Dostoyevsky in the sheets
Baby, are you ready for this Cold War?
Lenin stated that the new Soviet Union was surrounded by a “hostile capitalist encirclement”, and he viewed diplomacy as a weapon to keep Soviet enemies divided. The struggle between communism and capitalism is real child, highlighting the issues within drag race itself, a show built on building a community for massive gain. Are we ready for that? Yes gawd. Dostoyevsky himself wrote many erotic letters to his lover long after they were married, showing himself to be the original sexter, and therefore someone you want in the sheets. He believed that the world was hungry for sex, and while he may not have approved, he was right.
In conclusion, Russian through this we see an autobiographical journey of a competition, sprinkled with some history and linguistics. UNNnnhhh.