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Cakes Da Killa talks new album, authenticity & challenges

todayMay 16, 2024

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Cakes Da Killa talks new album, authenticity & challenges
Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Rashard Bradshaw, better known by his stage name Cakes Da Killa, is an artist renowned for his unique fusion of hip-hop, house, and electronic dance music. Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, Bradshaw emerged as a prominent figure in the “queer explosion” of hip-hop music that originated in New York around 2012. His work has significantly contributed to the growing acceptance of LGBT individuals within the rap community. 

Cakes Da Killa’s career began in 2011, and he has since been active in the music industry, releasing several singles and albums. His second full-length studio album, “Svengali,” was released in 2022. In addition to his music career, Cakes Da Killa has appeared in television and film, notably starring in the short film “Cakes Da Killa: No Homo” in 2014 and appearing in the second episode of the music competition show “Rhythm + Flow” in 2019. 

Currently based in Atlanta, Cakes Da Killa continues to influence the music scene with his innovative sound and unapologetic representation of queer culture in hip-hop. He recently released his latest album, “Black Sheep.” Black Sheep is inspired by seeing the world, by embracing the nightlife, and building community. 

In a recent interview with HYFIN Verified, Cakes Da Killa provided an insightful look into his upbringing, artistic influences, and the challenges he has faced in the music industry. The conversation began with a nostalgic reflection on his childhood in Teaneck, New Jersey. Cakes Da Killa described his neighborhood as a lively place filled with children, though he admitted, “I had to be forced to go outside. Like I was a kid that just wanted to watch TV all day.”

His high school years were spent at a magnet school in Inglewood, which he described as a “unique experience” due to the juxtaposition of elitism and underfunding between his school and the neighboring public high school. This period was formative for Cakes Da Killa, exposing him to diverse social dynamics and fostering his creative talents. He fondly recalled his drama teacher, Mrs. Kane, who provided a space for him to explore black theater, stating, “She was doing a blackish, like she was doing a black theater. So that’s where I gravitated to.”

Cakes Da Killa’s entry into the music world was somewhat serendipitous. He began making music as a joke, uploading tracks to SoundCloud without any grand ambitions. However, his talent quickly became apparent, and he found himself navigating the complexities of the music industry. Reflecting on his name, he explained, “I called myself Cakes because I wanted something sweet because I knew, okay, I’m gay, let’s beat them to the punch.”

The interview also touched on the evolving landscape of hip-hop and the increasing visibility of LGBTQ+ artists. Cakes Da Killa noted, “It’s interesting to see things that are now coming into the mainstream due to the visibility of everything, which I think is great.” He emphasized the importance of authenticity in his work, stating, “I don’t have the privilege to be straight passing. I don’t have that. There are other gay artists who do have that, and I think that that’s great for them. That’s just not my experience.”

Cakes Da Killa’s music reflects his life experiences and commitment to authenticity. His recent “Black Sheep” album showcases his lyrical prowess and creative vision. He was dedicated to his craft, saying, “The pen is going, the pen moves. But the reason why the pen is doing that is because I respect music, and I respect rap and hip-hop as art forms.”

The interview concluded by discussing his recent performance on the COLORS platform, a significant milestone in his career. Despite initial nerves, Cakes Da Killa delivered a powerful performance, reaffirming his place in the music industry. He shared, “As soon as I put those headphones on and I was like, I just did it. I realized that I’m not faking a funk. Like this is what I do and this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Cakes Da Killa’s journey is a testament to the power of authenticity and resilience. His ability to navigate the complexities of identity and artistry has made him a standout figure in contemporary hip-hop, inspiring a new generation of artists to embrace their true selves.


Written by: Element Everest-Blanks

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