With a name like Cakes Da Killa you’d be forgiven for not knowing what to expect. Part sweet, part hard, the stage name of Rashard Bradshaw does give you a taste of what’s to come.
Growing up in New Jersey, Cakes made a name for himself after the turn of the decade with the release of his first EP Easy Bake Oven. It was his first single, “Goodie Goodies,” which helped launch Cakes to where he is today.
As an openly queer rapper, Cakes is no stranger to the importance of visibility, one of the main reasons behind the Stunt Queen Tour he and fellow queer rapper Mykki Blanco are currently on. The tour has taken the performers across the nation and will see them land here in Richmond on Monday, March 20th.
“When I was coming up there wasn’t a Mykki Blanco or Cakes da Killa or Le1f so I didn’t think it was a possibility,” said Cakes, mentioning some of the other up and coming LGBTQ-identified performers who have helped develop the scene they all identify with. “Now this new generation of people they’re looking at things without the parameters that I was living with growing up.”
The Stunt Queen Tour has allowed Cakes and Blanco to not only bring a greater visibility to queer rappers as a whole, but to different forms of expression.
“My whole thing is more about body awareness and being able to project both your masculinity and your femininity at the same time,” said Cakes. “I feel like a lot of times gay people get pigeonholed or boxed into being one type of thing. I think this tour is cool because we’re showing there’s not just one way to be gay.”
As Cakes has risen to prominence and been more visibly queer there have been some downsides, and Cakes feels as though he often can get shoehorned into what he’s worked to build up.
“At the end of the day I would just much rather focus on the lyricism because I do but a lot of technical work into what I do. I do see the importance of the visibility, it’s just whatever,” said Cakes.
This stems more from Cakes wanting to be appreciated for his craft than because of who he loves, and though he acknowledged that he doesn’t need validation from the larger, mostly straight hip-hop community, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
“It is cool to be included because, I think, at the end of the day, regardless of if you’re gay, straight, Puerto Rican or Black if you’re making good music you’re making good music,” said Cakes.
Another important aspect of Cakes’ music is the danceability, something that goes back to his roots and helped define him as a performer. Tracks like ‘New Phone (Who Dis)’ do a great job conveying the Cakes Da Killa musical aesthetic that merges tight bars and infectious dance beats.
“I definitely blossomed in the club and I’ve always had a huge love for club culture and dance music, so there’s always going to be that touch sonically to my music but it’s definitely still rooted in hip-hop,” said Cakes.
Cakes Da Killa will perform on Monday March 20th at Strange Matter along with Mykki Blanco and local heartbreaker TRAPCRY. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 day of the show, hell of a value considering this is one of the most stacked lineups in recent memory.
Top image via Cakes Da Killa Facebook page.