Makeup by Camille Thompson using Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

This time last year, Awkwafina -- the cheeky rap alter ego of 25-year-old Forest Hills-native Nora Lum -- took to YouTube to release her video for "My Vag," a quasi-feminist parody of L.A. rapper Mickey Avalon's, "My Dick," launching her career as a contemporary DIY MC. More recently she released "NYC Bitche$," an equally irreverent assessment of her hometown. ("Fuck that museum shit unless it's first Saturday/...Pull over by the Burg/ Hipster pussy market.")

Now, Lum is popping up in all the right places. Most recently, she topped the bill of "Rock the Belles" (the all-female, indie answer to the increasingly commercial, male-heavy hip-hop festival Rock the Bells) at the artist-friendly Gowanus Loft, and played a show at the Flat in Williamsburg -- "a super taste-maker, hipstery scene" -- where fellow alt-MC Kitty Pryde showed up. And she's amassing quite the following. "When I was just on Tumblr and YouTube, it didn't make much of an impact. You just live your life, you still go on the subway," she says. "You know that it's real when you go to the scene and there's a lot people there that know you and come up to you. That's really cool."

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