There is not a large majority that will give Ke$ha very much credit in the "artistic integrity" category. I used to be one of those detractors. There was even a time when I refused to spell her name with a dollar sign. But now, I've seen the light (or maybe the songs have been drilled into my head enough times à la Josie and the Pussycats--and if you don't understand that reference, well, watch the movie. It's necessary). Regardless of M.I.A. accusing her of ripping off her style and sound from Uffie, this bitch knows how to appeal to an audience. Because, after all, what does every girl--in spite of her age--secretly want to do: Fuck shit up, get drunk, and have meaningless sex. Who says that guys should have the monopoly on such fun?
Signed to Kemosabe Entertainment at the (these days) jaded age of eighteen, Ke$ha wasted no time in distinguishing herself from other artists on Dr. Luke's label, the prodigious and renowned producer of Top 40 artists like Katy Perry, Ciara, Britney Spears, Pink, and B.o.B. With the runaway success of her debut album, Animal, Ke$ha echoed the career move of Lady Gaga by composing several supplemental tracks to be re-released with the album, giving it the doppelganger name of Cannibal. And honestly, who else could get away with the lyric (on the track "Cannibal"), "Yup, I'll pull a Jeffrey Dahmer" unless it was sung sweetly--yet irreverently--by a pop tart siren?
Even though Ke$ha was born in Los Angeles, a town which now serves as one of her primary playgrounds, her family moved to a suburb of Nashville when she was five years old. It was perhaps having conventionality to rebel against that ultimately transformed Ke$ha into the thrill-seeking, party-loving person she is today. With the help of her mother, Pebe (a songwriter in her own right), Ke$ha penned the lyrics and music to her first song, "Stephen" (which would become one of the weaker tracks on Animal).
And this is the part in her biography where I'm inclined to believe she is a genius. After gaining the notice of Dr. Luke with "Stephen," Ke$ha opted to drop out of school at seventeen and head back to L.A. to take claim of her role as pop star. Everything about this move fits in with Ke$ha's image as a badass bitch who does not give one fuck about anything except having a good time. Granted, she would later complete her GED, I'm pretty sure she must have been on some type of substance for most of her study sessions. Moreover, Ke$ha did not make the mistake of trying to start out with a wholesome image, as some of her fallen contemporaries did (e.g. Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, et. al.).
Right from the outset, Ke$ha established herself as the imperfect sinner and a proponent of expressing carnal desires. But before any of this could be achieved, Ke$ha still had several dues to pay: She had to work as a waitress, appear in Katy Perry's video for "I Kissed A Girl," and sing backing vocals on a Paris Hilton track. If that isn't prostrating yourself, I don't know what is. But through it all, Ke$ha probably knew what she was destined to become: The poster child for partying, the goddess of filling the dance floor, the muse for remixes galore. So, whether she is aware of it or not, Ke$ha is imbued with the gift for positioning herself as the spokesperson of a lifestyle that we all wish we could have. Therein lies her musical/marketing genius.