Richard "Bugs" Burnett's national column and blog on LGBTQ life and culture across Canada and around the world
Monday, 7 November 2016
CAKES DA KILLA: "I DON'T IDENTIFY AS QUEER. I AM JUST A RAPPER."
Cakes da Killa: "I don’t identify as queer. I am just a rapper."
Up-and-coming American rapper Cakes da Killa has been compared to Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown, but has also been making headlines as an openly-gay performer. Out magazine describes Cakes– a.k.a. Rashard Bradshaw – as “the class clown of the next generation of queer hip-hop musicians (who) may also become leader of the pack.” This wave features such performers as Shamir, Big Freedia,Mz Jonz, Mykki Blanco and Le1f.
Check out the animated video clip below of Cakes da Killa's new single New Phone (Who Dis) from his just-released 2016 album Hedonism. Meanwhile, I originally sat down with Cakes da Killa for a candid interview when he performed in Montreal in November 2015.
Three Dollar Bill: You came out in Third Grade. What was that like?
Cakes da Killa:My mother found an innocent love letter in my book bag and confronted me about it. I tried to eat the note and when that didn’t work I ran around the house with it and she chased me. After a while I just stopped running and told her I was gay. I think she was more taken aback that I was aware of sexuality that early on more so than the gay aspect of it.
School wasn’t anything too dramatic. I was big enough to defend myself and I was funny enough to be semi popular which didn’t make me an easy target for bullying. My home life didn’t really change much after coming out. A mother always knows even when she wants to act surprised.
You have said “An openly gay rapper shouldn’t be breaking news.” But here we are talking about it again. Why can’t people let this subject go?
I don’t know. Maybe for headline shock value or click bait? I think we’ve already established I’m an openly gay MC already so if we just focus on how talented I am that would be amazing. I’ve accomplished a lot in the last four years as an underground artist that doesn’t really depend on my sexual preference but on my work ethic and skills. I do see the importance of visibility which is why I never wanted to be closeted. I doubt me being closeted would work out though.
Are you a queer hip hop artist, or a hip hop artist who just happens to be queer?
You know the answer to this question already. I don’t identify as queer. Are you a Caucasian journalist? Are you a male journalist? Your job title is journalist. No need for the extra adjective. I am just a rapper.
The old-school mentality that “queer hip hop” is an oxymoron, why does it continue?
I think the artists who the media force into that category find it annoying because we have few things in common sonically, and we all don’t all identify as queer. Lastly, hip hop is a genre that leaves room for variety. I guess those older hip hop purists find it oxymoronic because rap is a man’s man sport and a homosexual is consider less of a man. This way of thinking does nothing to me, though, because I still have bills to pay and songs to make.