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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 7, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 14
Introducing Gay hip-hop artist Cakes Da Killa
Arts & Entertainment
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Introducing Gay hip-hop artist Cakes Da Killa

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Over the past few years, several hip-hop artists have come out as Gay or Bisexual. Frank Ocean started the trend, and in a musical genre once plagued by homophobic lyrics and misogyny, new artists like openly Gay Cakes Da Killa have arrived on the scene to challenge the status quo.

According to NBC Out, Cakes (born Rashard Bradshaw) started in hip-hop by making raps to mock the heteronormative boys he attended school with. He found success by developing a fan base online and putting on popular live performances.

Cakes uses bold lyrics with the theme of glamour, luxury, and lust. In October 2016, Cakes released his first album, 'Hedonism.'

'I was in a very hedonistic place in my life,' the rapper told NBC Out at a recent concert at New York City's Bowery Ballroom. 'I had just gotten out of a relationship, and I was on the market.'

'Hedonism' received positive attention and good reviews from many leading hip-hop news outlets. Still, Cakes has not been without his critics.

Ebro Darden, a radio personality on popular hip-hop station HOT 97, has questioned Cakes' place in the world of rap music. In a 2014 interview, Darden lauded the musician's cadence and striking sound but questioned his sexuality and speculated that his lyrics are not relatable to the majority of hip-hop fans.

However, despite this experience, the young performer considers his appearance on the station a defining moment in his career. 'The interview was iconic. I wasn't annoyed by the interview. A lot of those interactions are not annoying to me, because I have those conversations with my uncles,' he said. 'A lot of people are not necessarily homophobic, they're just not aware of the lifestyle, so then you just have to educate them. There are a lot of times when I am forced to learn a new thing. People should stop being so tense.'

Cakes coins himself a 'gold star Gay' (a term used to describe someone who has never had sex with opposite sex). The rapper told NBC Out that he came out of the closet in the third grade, and that this revelation at such a young and vulnerable age helped make him the unapologetically Queer performer he is today.

'For the most part, I have always been unapologetically myself, and that comes from me having a strong foundation. I have a mom who did not want to throw me out of the house because I was gay. If you have that type of foundation, who cares about what people say?' Cakes said, adding that his mother currently fully accepts him and is proud of his success.

Cakes told NBC Out that while growing up he idolized entertainers who were glamorous and ostentatious, and he listed Missy Elliot, Ludacris, Diana Ross, and Cher among his inspirations.

Currently, he said he dreams of collaborating with performers such as Nicki Minaj, Jadakiss, Sza, and Rihanna.

Cakes' charisma and refusal to compromise himself has helped to cultivate a passionate LGBTQ fan base.

'I don't make music trying to gain acceptance from straight people. The gay dollar makes a lot of pop stars,' he said, stressing the importance of those in the community supporting each other.

While he does have a big LGBTQ fan base, Cakes also believe there's a subset of the population that rejects his music due to internalized homophobia.

'There is a lot of self-hate in the gay community,' he speculated. 'So when gays see other boys wearing heels or wigs, sometimes they give that person the side eye, because some people are not comfortable with themselves.'

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