PIOTR ORLOV: “Everybody knows that, in this age, real rappers don’t dance—or create music for it. Cakes da Killa is the exception. Born Rashard Bradshaw, the 23-year-old North Jersey-to-Brooklyn transplant has a whiplash-diva tongue, club-banger tracks and a perpetually dynamic presence.
His breakout 2013 mixtape, The Eulogy, was outrageous in its energy and the amount of sexual positions it posited Cakes could perfect; last summer’s Hunger Pangs may be darker, but it’s still the funniest and most refreshingly brash set of raps by a Brooklyn MC in forever.”
AFROPUNK: Talk a bit about the differences in energy between The Eulogy and Hunger Pangs?
CAKES DA KILLA: When I dropped The Eulogy, I was still in college. I was bored, 21 years old and trapped in a dorm room. I was in a really sexually frustrated place, so I talked about sex. I don’t see a problem with it; because I am gay, gay sex isn’t really this taboo thing in my world. (And, you know, gay people have sex.) Hunger Pangs, the sound of it is a lot more masculine, more aggressive, [and] it’s a lot less dance oriented. It was definitely a different side of me.
You’ve got quite a mix of styles.
Even though lyrically I am a hardcore rapper, aesthetically I can’t bring that ammo. But I was always into disco and house and club music, and when I go out, I like to turn up and make the music I want to hear at the club. So I combine the two. Maybe it’s a mind-f*ck for people who say it’s “gay music,” but it’s only “gay” because of the beats.
Was having a live show with dancers always the plan?
I was a performing arts kid, so I have always been surround by dancers. You will never see me perform like a regular rapper, get on stage and jump up and down with a bunch of my homies. I structure my shows based on people like Beyoncé or Michael Jackson: This is going to be a full-on show, a full-on production. I want to leave [the audience] thinking that, even if you don’t like my music or appreciate what I am saying, that it was a good show. What a lot of rappers are lacking is a performance factor. That’s actually what keeps me making music: the performances.