cakes da killa opens ariel 2.0 in peckham
The sexy, subversive rapper blew the sound system at the opening of a new event series at Bold Tendencies last night.
"We gon' do some rap shit or nah?" Cakes Da Killa teases the crowd in the sweat box of a hay hut that serves as a gig venue within the Bold Tendencies floor of Peckham's multi-storey car park venue. Cakes is a consummate showman, performing some vocal warm-ups before bursting into a bouncing rendition of Hunger Pangs, which he tells the DJ to pause, saying, "I ain't sweating up here if you ain't dancing."
Wearing circle-framed, blue-tinted sunglasses and a graphic Givenchy print T-shirt, Cakes twerks as he sings the "Doo doo doo doo"s of Tom's Diner, recently covered by Britney Spears for Giorgio Moroder's album. Given a cursory glance, Cake's lyrics include all the "bitch this" and "fuck that" of standard hip hop, but listen closer and you will see that he subverts the boring tropes of the genre, with a playful wink, killer references and a lot of humour. It's a fun and inclusive show, and everyone's dancing like crazy through Get 2 Work and Goodie Goodies, just before Cakes overloads the sound system and everything goes dark.
The audience clap a beat during the blackout as Cakes fills the time by popping some champagne and pouring it into the open mouths of the front row. When the power finally comes back on, there's enough time for Get Right (Get Wet), which includes the awesome line, "And I spit that shit to make a homophobe a hypocrite", before everyone moves on to the after party, going through 'til 8am. We caught up with Cakes just as he came off stage, to ask him a few quick Qs...
How's it going, other than blowing the sound system?
If I'm not busting a sound system, I'm busting a bottle! I love London; Peckham is a different neighbourhood, normally I'm in like Dalston or Hackney or Brixton. This is my first time in the South East.
How's the European tour going?
Great! I'm spending a lot of time in Berlin, that's like my off-place. I did a party for i-D Germany and a Vice party. I've been to Lisbon. I've been all over the place.
Are European crowds different to American crowds?
It depends on where you at. It's my first time being in Eastern Europe, and that crowd is completely different from a London crowd. But it's all fun at the end of the day, because everyone drinks alcohol!
You're part of a new wave of hip hop. Is the genre changing?
I think hip hop is definitely growing up, it's definitely one of the younger genres of music, so I think it's kind of going through a puberty phase right now.
Because hip hop has been really misogynist and homophobic, but there are people subverting that now.
Yeah, we have different key players now in hip hop that are different from the standard of what a rapper is, in cookie-cutter mode. But also hip hop is like a mainstream thing; it's all about money now, not about like, you know, the inner-city youth -- which is basically where hip hop came from, New York inner-city kids. It's a commercial thing now, so you're going to have white rappers, gay rappers, asexual rappers, alien rappers! There's a whole spectrum.
Do you mean hip hop sold out?
I don't think hip hop sold out, I just think it got to the point where people knew it was making money. If something is making revenue, someone is going to take it over and try to get the most for their buck.
But yours isn't mainstream hip hop, is it?
No. I'm very underground. But to be honest, a lot of people are taking from the underground now. You look at people like Rihanna: she looks like an underground artist. You know, back in the day, maybe like ten years ago, pop stars weren't looking like underground artists, but they pull from us all the time [now], so that's how we get our shine too.
What's the message you're bringing to hip hop?
Pay me my money. Leave the cheque in the mail and have the bottle ready.
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Yarl via Wikimedia Commons