By KJ Philp, March 2017 Issue.
Hedonism: a) the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence; b) the debut full-length studio album by rapper Cakes Da Killa, which dropped last October.
Cakes, formally Rashard Bradshaw, described his new album as “retrospective,” because it embodies elements of all his past projects.
“On The Eulogy I didn’t give any f*cks,” he told Echo via a phone interview. “Hunger Pangs was electronic infused with a European style … #IMF was about a boy who broke my heart. People like that side of me, so there are some of those narratives on this album. I definitely wanted it to be retrospective, I didn’t want anyone to think I was forgetting them or that I was being too sugary.”
And, picking up right where he last left off with his loyal listeners, “Hedonism (Intro)” sets the tone for this next chapter in the young MC’s career:
“Previously on IMF, we find our protagonist sinking, in a deep pool.
Drowning, in his emotions and pleasures …
Cakes been the baddest, without no filters
so, how you f*ck around and play yo meters
switched it up, when I dead you like R.I.P.
had a really cute thing but couldn’t let that be
beggin’ for another shot, I said let’s wait and see
cause I’ma keep it classy, pull my briefs up
so Krispy Kreme’d up, cold shoulders, minked up
spit that gospel, make a doubter believer
… Yeah, let’s take it to the clubs.”
And that’s precisely what he’s doing, one show as a time.
“My shows take it back to where rap started: fashion, comedy and drinking,” Cakes offered as a preview. “I’m bringing New York flavor and I do a small DJ set before my performance set, so I’ll be bringing some music they’re not used to.”
He cites his inspirations as “people who are creative,” specifically Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Bette Midler, Joan Rivers and countless others.
And while he promises “quality rap music, fast beats and a good ass show,” the level of creativity he’s referring to transcends his music.
From furs and fake eyelashes to platforms and flower petals, you can never be too sure what level of creative inspiration Cakes will bring to the stage on any given night. But don’t interpret any of these aesthetics for a gimmick. On the mic, Cakes is savage. And he pairs such topics as gay sex, lust, heartbreak and rage with his unmistakable in-your-face aggressive style. And we can’t get enough.
Having been slapped with the “gay rapper” label so early in his career, Cakes said he’s been able to turn it into a form of activism.
“[The gay rapper] is how people are introducing me, which is amazing for visibility, but it’s two-dimensional,” he said. “People have read that interview and they know not to treat me like that.”
Wise beyond his years and “extra out” since long before his days volunteering at the LGBTQ center in high school, Cakes understands the responsibility that comes with the visibility that his music has provided him.
“It doesn’t really offend me,” he said. “[I’m going] through all this annoying bullsh*t so the next person doesn’t have to go through it.”
And yes, he’s teaching people – fans and otherwise – significant lessons along the way.
“It’s important that everybody tell their stories,” he said. “We’re all a community, but we don’t have the same experiences … and reality can become white washed and erased.”
When asked, he said he’d offer the same advice to aspiring artists who defy genres and labels, but don’t see a space for their flavor in the current music landscape.
“I feel like those artists don’t exist anymore, the internet made that obsolete,” he said. “But, if they are out there, I’d say ‘you just have to do it. You can’t be afraid of failure or public ridicule.’”
These words of wisdom come from years of experience.
“You have to be yourself, 100 percent,” he said. “What I’m doing is its own unique thing. Maybe the next person will be like ‘this is so Cakes.’”
Cakes’ authenticity is what makes his music and his collaborations so relevant. On Hedonism, he teams up with Rye Rye, Calore and Josh Dst and features beats from LSDXOXO, Noah Breakfast, Jeremiah Meece and others.
But it’s “Up out My Face,” a track with Peaches, that has so many people talking.
“Working with Peaches was special because we are both unapologetically ourselves in life,” he said. “Two badass bi*ches who have so much to say and make [tracks] that are cool and interesting.”
And this isn’t the first time this gender-bending duo’s worked together.
“I respect her and I watch her from a distance and she’s selling out venues anywhere without sugar coating anything,” he said. “She’s crazy as f*ck, too … And I think it came together in a cute way.”
Don’t take our word for it, you can listen to just about his entire discography at soundcloud.com/cakesdakilla. And through the end of March, he’s bringing his new music to 30 stages across North America.
“I’m just excited to be in a [tour] van doing stupid sh*t,” he said. “Go get the album and come have a drink with me.”
The Stunt Queen Tour
8 p.m. March 8
308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix