"I'm wearing black panties with your name on them. I've been wearing them for three days. I could barely wait to call you, but I couldn't afford a phone card until now."
These were the words of Jenni Craige, one third of Vancouver-based Stink Mitt, in the preface to our interview last week. The 42-year-old mother of six is in the midst of what she calls "super stardom," brought on by the group's first release, Scratch 'n' Sniff.
"Take off your golf shirt and we'll start the interview."
Self-described "cougars," Jenni and Betti Forde head the group, along with Dr. Do This, their musical accompaniment. Their music is a raunchy blend of raw hip-hop beats with over-the-top, often offensive, lyrics. More importantly, their image is not only a parody of an industry dominated by offensive men, but a natural next step.
"This is male misogynistic rap, but reversed. It's like NWA through a women's eyes," Jenni says of their style. "With Stink Mitt, we're taking a lot of influences that were at the cutting edge of the genre in their own right, but we're trailblazing our own style."
Stink Mitt started after Jenni set out to find the fathers of some of her children. Her search led her to Surrey, BC, where she met with Betti. After scamming the government out of a large child tax benefit check (she claimed eight children), the two took to the studio, put together a demo, and eventually caught the eye of Teenage USA Recordings.
"It wasn't like we knew we would blow into super stardom. We opened up for Princess Superstar, and our label was in the audience and they were blown away," Jenni remembers. "And I'm so proud of this album. From start to finish, it's like annihilation."
If not total "annihilation," cuts like "Bangin' On My Clit" and "Biker Shorts," the album's first single, certainly give the group an air of uniqueness. From their ornate costumes, to their promo materials (one shot features the three with mock Scratch 'n' Spots over their naughty bits, while the album cover features a "camel toe"), to their lyrics, it requires an open mind to truly appreciate Stink Mitt.
"You get the joke or you don't. We don't have time for people that aren't figuring it out. They can stick to Shania Twain or Britney Spears," she says. "Stink Mitt is something new. People come to Stink Mitt shows for liberation, to see something different that's not watered down and totally contrived."
From here, Stink Mitt will continue to make a name for themselves. With two videos due out soon and a live tour already underway, their steam shows no sign of running out. As for their new-found fame, Jenni is basking in it.
"We write dope songs, we've been around the block more than twice, and my kids love it," Jenni says. "We went up to superstardom in a year. I've just bought one of those townhouses on top of tinsel town in Vancouver.
"Life is pretty fantastic."
Stink Mitt plays Oct. 16 at the Night Gallery.