Happy Birthday, Ya Kid K! Almost 25 years later, you are still pumpin’ up my jam.

Ya Kid K - Then & Now

I have to admit, I thought you were a dude when I first saw you perform live on TV sometime back in 1989, before I knew what a lesbian was. Sorry about that.

In fact, your gender was a frequent before-bedtime hot topic for my older sister and I, along with other stupid things like what exactly the “Cs” in C+C Music Factory stood for, which New Kid was the ugliest (answer: Danny), and whether or not Paula Abdul was part black. We were just dumb, spoiled little white girls who were raised on MTV and had nothing better to argue about, but were sisters, so as a rule we had to argue about something. And this was years before the internet, so we couldn’t exactly look these things up. But we sure did wear the shit out of our Technotronic cassingles! Me especially.

Awesome - You Are My Hero

Like several other now-obscure musical acts of the 90’s (see my posts about Partners in Kryme and Fifth Platoon), my Ya Kid K fandom is directly associated with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You have the esteemed honor of being the only artist to have appeared on all three live-action TMNT movie soundtracks, albeit under totally inconsistent names:

These are soundtracks I’m still listening to at age 31, and not just because I have nostalgia blindness (deafness?) for all things TMNT–no, I still listen to these albums because there’s some damn good music on them, thanks in a big way to you. I’ve read biographies where you didn’t seem all that thrilled to have sold out in that way, like so many other artists who were swept up by Turtlemania, but if it’s any consolation, you helped make my childhood (and a lot of other kids’) a whole lot more awesome.

And speaking of awesome, your live performances were The Shit. Until you burst on the scene, I had never really seen anyone perform with that level of energy and enthusiasm. You could dance, you could rap, you could sing, and you had a funky-fresh style (yes, I feel it’s totally acceptable to use the 90’s slang term “funky-fresh” here) that was really unique. And that voice is unmistakable. I don’t think you get nearly the level of credit you deserve.

I can’t believe you’re 40 years old now. In my mind you’ll forever be owning that Arsenio Hall stage.