“Life is too short for negativity”Cakes Da Killa is not only the most flamboyant new rapper on the scene, but also one of the most articulate. Churning out one magnificent EP after another, the 24-year-old is more than deserving of the title Newcomer of the Month.
THE RED BULLETIN: Your recent EP is titled #IMF. According to Urban Dictionary this abbreviation could stand for Illegal Monetary Fund, Impossible Mission Force or Ignorant Motherf****r. Which one is it?
CAKES DA KILLA: Oh my gosh, it’s definitely none of those (laughs). Ignorant Motherf****r? Maybe that would be an idea for my debut album. IMF stands for In My Feelings. It’s a phrase, which is used when you’re emotional, after someone breaks your heart or your dog dies.
What was it in your case?
The former. I’m so sad I had to go through that. But I’m glad that I was able to put these emotions into something positive opposed to just cry about it for months and months which is what I was doing before.
Want to read about the biggest, freshest and hottest names in the music world? Then check out our music channel at: redbulletin.com/music
Does that work for you? Turning frustration into creativity?
Usually I don’t really like having “Adele moments”, but I decided to just commit to it, because everyone should do that once in a while. I just wanted to get it out, because people were trying to pin me down as a one-trick pony, saying I only talk about certain things. So I just wanted to show range.
If #IMF had a mission statement it would be, just to show range. But I don’t really consider that along the lines of the other EPs, because it’s something I needed to do creatively for me like a passion project.
Listening to your music and watching your videos …
… yeah, I don’t give a fuck …
… but you seem very focussed.
I’m definitely mindful of the craftsmanship of rap which a lot my contemporaries are not. I have a lot of respect for rap. I wasn’t always into rap music heavily, but once I started making it, I had to respect is as an art form. You can’t be a painter and not do your history or not do research on the painters before you.
When you started rapping in high school, did it feel like entering hostile territory in a way considering the much-discussed topic of homophobia in hip-hop?
I don’t give a f*ck. People try to make it seem as if hip-hop is the area where homophobia resides. But you know what? Homophobia is everywhere. It’s in rock, it’s in country, and it’s in R&B. People feel like rappers should live up to a certain standard, and there have been rappers that just don’t live up to that. But they still want to make rap music, so they should still be respected as much as anyone else.
How do you see yourself in all that?
I feel like I’m in a place where I can’t really complain. I don’t know a lot of independent artists, who had his first interview ever with Pitchfork or who travel as much as I do. So I can’t really speak on the stigma of homophobia in hip-hop, because I’m a working rapper.
Why do you think that people connect homophobia more with hip-hop than with other genres?
Because hip hop is run by people of colour. Well, not ran by people of colour. But hip hop started from people of colour and things like poverty, mental health, race relations and sexuality, these are all things that are still very touchy subjects for people of colour. So when people talk about homophobia in hip hop, that’s a very micro thing.
In an interview you recently said that people see you as an underdog. Why is that?
A lot of people are insecure, and they project a lot of their insecurities on me. They may feel like I’m a bitch because of the way I carry myself, because I’m comfortable with myself. That can make people who are not comfortable with themselves insecure. There are going to be people who are racist, there are going to be people who are homophobic, but that doesn’t have to affect me in what I’m doing. I can’t sit here and think about what someone else is going to think.
Do you see yourself as an activist in that sense?
I’m realising that what I’m doing is kind of revolutionary, but to me it’s just me being me. But fans write to me and they’re like, ‘you’re inspiring me to do this or that.’ And I’m like, that’s great if you get that moved by what I’m doing. That’s cool.
On the other hand, how do you deal with hateful comments?
The block button on Twitter comes really effortlessly. I just do a lot of blocking. Negativity is not really something I’m really focussed on. Life’s too short for that.