CupcakKe: Queen of Dirty Rap

Photography by Shaun Michael

In August of 2020, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion shocked the world with their hit song “WAP,” and by now everyone knows what it stands for—no, it’s not Wet-Ass Pizza, I promise. However, despite the amount of controversy it caused—some people were talking about “perversity not diversity” while others referred to it as a feminist masterpiece of porn—it is good to remember that “WAP” is not the only case of dirty rap song to shook the music world in recent years. It might be the most popular—I give it that—but Cardi and Megan certainly were not reinventing the wheel.

Straight Outta Chicago

But few are aware that those lyrics are far from being as explicit as those of Chicago rapper Elizabeth Eden Harris. She rose to notoriety in 2016 as CupcakKe with her mixtape Cum Cake, featuring explicitly graphic songs like “Vagina,” “Pedophile,” “LGBT” and the viral hit “Deepthroat.” Her lyrics are arguably as witty—if not more so—as Cardi’s “I want you to touch that lil’ dangly thing that swing in the back of my throat”—which, interestingly enough, was partially written by PARTYNEXTDOOR, a male producer.

Sex Anthems for 2010s Kids

Starting with her above-mentioned debut, CupacakKe’s songs became more and more explicit and humorous, utilizing witty puns and wordplays to talk about her sex life in songs like “Duck Duck Goose.” She also incorporated pop culture references in many of her lyrics, the best example being the track “Cartoons” from her second album Ephorize, in which she mentions animated shows like the Looney Tunes, the Flinstones, Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo and Spongebob. Talking about Spongebob, back in January 2019, CupcakKe released a Spongebob-inspired single titled “Squidward Nose”—I think y’all know where I’m going with this—in which she uses the popular animated character’s nose as a pleasure tool.

Diss Tracks, Collabs and More

In her diss song “How to Rob,” CupcakKe attacks major mainstream artists, including Cardi and Megan, with the following bars: “Runnin’ through your party just so I can find Cardi, / like, ‘Birth, I’m finna give you your old teeth back!’” She also had a reference to WAP when writing “Open up the bag, give me everything you got” followed by “Run up on Megan, like, ‘Give me your funds’ and you can’t even run, ‘cause you just got shot (Goddamn),” referencing the injury the Texas rapper suffered from after she was shot on her foot by Tory Lanez.

Even in her collabs with Charli XCX she manages to bring her sexually charged lyrics to shine: “I shake it like Jamaican / No birthday, but I’m cakin’ / I shake it like I’m tryna get the oil off the bacon,” she whispers in “Shake It,” also featuring Big Freedie, Brooke Candy and Pabllo Vittar.

But what are other artists saying about CupcakKe? In 2018, queer rapper and singer Mykki Blanco wrote an article for Dazed as guest editor, stating that “CupcakKe us one of the best lyricists and rapper out there right now, period. I admire the way she has handled her rise to stardom and success, never compromising, always inspiring and also unapologetic about who she is and how she chooses to navigate this industry.”

So, I think the difference between Cardi’s WAP and CupcakKe’s songs is palpable: while Cardi released one, extremely famous song that happened to have dirty allusions in it, CupcakKe built her career and reputation on sexually charged anthems that didn’t take themselves too seriously. But most importantly, she proved that whacky lyrics and trippy music videos can come a long way in the era of the internet.

All lyrics quoted were taken from genius.com 

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