January 21, 2018

Test Spin: CupcakKe — Ephorize

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Ephorize, CupcakKe’s newest album, does not deliver a message or follow a theme based on the tracklist alone. It requires listening, but does not make a chore out of it, as the album is filled with fun and clever bars. CupcakKe, a female rapper from Chicago, has been in the spotlight since her 2016 mixtape, Cum Cake. After that, her 2017 album, Queen Elizabitch kept her momentum with its consistency and uniqueness. CupcakKe is nothing like Cardi B, Nicki Minaj or any other highly popular female rappers. CupcakKe’s lyrics are in a category of their own in that they can be funny, extremely vulgar or introspective. She has kept this unique style since her mixtape, and her new album Ephorize is her best one yet. There has been no change in what CupcakKe is doing. She’s still not afraid to rap about what’s on her mind in a witty way, her struggles or sexual themes. However, Ephorize has a distinctly professional, polished sound. From the day CupcakKe unveiled her album art, it became evident that she was more serious about her success and music than ever before. Nevertheless, her music has not lost any of its eccentricity.

The first track, “2 Minutes,” lives up to everything the album should be and is well written with positive, encouraging bars about overcoming struggles and being optimistic, such as “But I’m dealing with real shit / My stretch marks really itch / My hair haven’t grown an inch / But I’m still that bitch.” Right away, the listener knows that Ephorize is going to be as real and raw as it gets.

“Cartoons,” the second track, was released prior to the album and was well-received. As opposed to “2 Minutes,” “Cartoons” is witty, but still raw. CupcakKe best highlights her rapping skills in “Cartoons,” and it’s the track you’ll want to learn how to rap not only because it’s fast, but because it’s fun. CupcakKe may not deliver a big, meaningful and inspirational message, but begins to introduce new listeners to the type of artist she is. It isn’t until “Duck Duck Goose” that the audience is exposed to signature CupcakKe.

One of the four explicit tracks on Ephorize, “Duck Duck Goose” is not for the weak. To anyone who may be familiar with CupcakKe’s previous work, “Duck Duck Goose” is an improved, catchier version of “Deepthroat” (the title says it all) and has nothing to do with the childhood game. I am probably not allowed to write most of the lyrics on this track, as the mildest it gets is “Turn it into a Yeezy shirt when you rip off my top / My box already small, it don’t need to be cropped.” The “Duck Duck Goose” music video is full of dildos and CupcakKe in a duck onesie, and is the epitome of her artistic style.

Perhaps the catchiest track on Ephorize, “Crayons” is an ode to the LGBTQ community. Ever since her 2016 song “LGBT,” it has been no secret that CupcakKe is not afraid to be an ally. “Crayons” not only demonstrates CupcakKe’s growth as a writer and artist, but as a person. This time around, she shows a better perspective of the community and criticizes problematic stereotypes, such as “Girl on girl, they like ‘yup’/But when it’s man on man they like ‘yuck’.” She expertly sums up her message on the second verse, “Ain’t no confusion, everybody human/ Get to know people instead of just assumin’/ Yeah, in conclusion, the gays ain’t losin’/ Like boomerang ’cause I’m all about the movement.”

The eighth track, “Self Interview,” is CupcakKe at her most exposed. CupcakKe has been working hard for her music and fame, and in this track, she questions double standards and reminds herself to never change for fame: “I’m hoping I never be that, you know? Never change for the fame, stay me.” Not many artists show the downside to being famous, and if they did, nobody would want to be a celebrity. CupcakKe, however, reveals ugly truths, such as “Most wouldn’t comprehend, double standards need to end / It’s a list of shit I could name but it ain’t enough ink in this pen / Spent three hours on makeup with my face covered like peek-a-boo.”

Most rappers have a focus, whether it be identity, culture, sexuality or politics. CupcakKe is all about sexual liberation, her struggles and remaining optimistic, which sends the perfect message with which to start 2018. CupcakKe is not afraid to be herself and show her fans the not-so-glamorous parts of her life, or attack double standards, which is what more rappers — female or not — should aspire to do.

Viri Garcia is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  She can be reached at [email protected]