CupcakKe: Beyond Irony

CupcakKe: Beyond Irony

Originally a poet in her local church choir, it would be fair to say that Elizabeth Harris has expanded her horizons, swapping blessings and hymns for ‘Deepthroat’ and ‘Anal.’ Going by “CupcakKe”, the Chicago rapper dropped her newest album “Queen Elizabitch” earlier this year with an on-brand fill of explicit lyrics and raunchy vidseo that have made a name for her online.

Her song ‘Vagina’ swiftly went viral on YouTube in 2015 and at the time of writing boasts 1,930,556 views. As she told Shane Dawson ‘[Deepthroating with CupcakKe:’] “I started out small you know, and God is everything” … “But then you know when my vagina got wet I started rapping songs called Vagina”.

While many of us might have dismissed it as just another cringey viral video, her five minutes of fame have blossomed into a growing career (2 albums and multiple mixtapes) with a dedicated following.

Predictable, the internet loves her. CupcakKe’s Youtube channel has 230,000 followers and a fanbase she calls her ‘slurpers’.

It is difficult to establish whether her fans are ironic or genuine – partly because it’s got to be awkward playing her lyrics in public and embarrassing to admit to being an out an proud “slurper”. Comments on her videos vary from respect and seemingly genuine support from fans to utter shock and trolling.

It would appear CupcakKe’s musical talent has branched out from more than just sex, however, as she approaches more serious topics of late. She has written ‘LGBT’ a song discussing the issue of homophobia, ‘Pedophile’ which reveals her traumatic personal experiences of sexual abuse as a child, ‘Biggie smalls’ a rap responding to Instagram models and supporting all body images and ‘Picking Cotton’ which highlights racism in our modern society.

These songs have encouraged a growing respect in place of ironic likes – and deservedly so.

Marek Axton, a London student and undercover fan of CupcakKe has said that while he first listened for comedic purposes, his views on the rapper have changed dramatically,

“I found it hilarious how she dressed and rapped in a highly controversial manner (…) I have lately discovered her albums on Spotify (…) some of her songs convey a positive message for people. Looking at her social media media, she comes across as a kind hearted individual. She once offered to pay for a hotel for one of her fans who was kicked out of home for coming out as homosexual, which shows she really cares about the issues she raps about.”

“Though the language she uses is highly explicit, I think it is necessary in order for her to make it. Without the controversy, she would just be one of thousands identical rappers, and would most likely never break through.”

So should we be horrified that squatting in nipple stickers and suggestively slobbering on various phallic shaped foods, is a big hit with the YouTube community? Or should we be congratulating the youth on their ability to accept a freer and more liberal music taste, looking past the grunting and grinding to reveal the positive message underneath?

Sure, CupcakKe’s music might not be something you’d share with your family, but then again Nicki Minaj or Ariana Grande lyrics around your grandparents aren’t too great either. Music in general, especially in the charts, tends to be hypersexual.

So to demonise and condemn CupcakKe for taking this to its logical conclusion is hypocritical. Her shock tactics are precisely what have allowed her to reach a global audience and take on topics that genuinely matter to her. The latest album marks the confluence of these two types of maturity – if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.