cakes-da-killa

Premiere: Cakes Da Killa Feat. Rye Rye "Gon Blow" (Video)

Don't you ever underestimate Young Cakes. 

It’s been two years since Cakes da Killa’s bizarre Hot 97 interview with Ebro and Peter Rosenberg. For those who are unfamiliar, Ebro praised the emcee’s skills but said that because of the lyrical content, the music wasn’t for him. The session got even more strange when Rosenberg implied that Cakes should hook up with his lesbian assistant, following it up with the mind-boggling “Is it directly penis that interests you the most?” To his credit, Cakes laughed off the query: “Oh, this cannot be a serious question. Yes, it’s directly the penis that excites me.”

There’s no bad blood, though — in fact, Ebro invited him to be a guest on his Beats1 show. And it’s not just the Hot 97 personality who’s taken notice; DJ heavyweight Diplo tweeted that he liked Cakes’ latest album, Hedonism.

But Cakes is more than the sum of his cosigns, and his latest visual, for the Rye Rye–assisted “Gon Blow,” is proof. Cakes talked to us about the mesmerizing clip, premiering on VIBE today, as well as hip-hop's relationship with the queer community and his dream collaborators: “I just need someone like Missy Elliott to put me in an incubator for, like, six months, and then it’s, like, done. I'll even go back in the closet at this point.”

What is the inspiration behind the "Gon Blow" visual?
The visual is a collaboration with myself, photographer Eric Johnson and animator Ben Marlowe. For me, the track is all about movement, so we included some B-roll from a party Eric and I threw. Ben's animations helped add some dance sequences to the video, because dance culture influences my music a lot, and I feel there is a disconnect between that and rap culture lately.

When did you discover ballroom culture?
I discovered ballroom culture in high school via YouTube clips. For me, ballroom culture is the new B-boy, in a sense, where a community releases a lot of tension and pain through movement and art. During the time I discovered these clips, I also discovered artists like Jay Pendarvis on MySpace, who made tracks people could vogue to. That sound had a huge influence on what would become my rap style in the future, as far as cadence and speed.

What music did you listen to growing up?
Well, growing up, music wasn't really my thing. It wasn't until my cousin introduced me to different types of music. Going through her CD collections I found No Doubt, Alanis Morissette, more alternative music. Obviously I'm black, so hip-hop is always around. It's very much like a second language around the neighborhood.

The artists that I gravitate towards say “fuck the system.” They kind of do what they want to do, like Peaches or Beth Ditto. Or in the hip-hop realm, people like Lil’ Kim and Busta Rhymes. People who kind of don't really ascribe to playing by this formula. They come in and change shit up.

There was a lot of homophobia in '90s rap music. Did that ever faze you?
No. I feel like rap gets this very negative [reputation] for being very homophobic, but there's homophobia in all genres of music. It didn't really bother me because I realize that rap is made up of different people with different opinions.

A few recent events have shown a shift toward queer acceptance in the hip-hop world: Yung Thug wore a dress on his Jeffery album cover, and Young M.A had a top 20 hit on the Hot 100. Do you feel like any of those moments were groundbreaking?
I think overall as far as visibility, I think that it is cool, but to be critical, masculine female rappers have been making rap music for years. That's really not reinventing the wheel. The problem is more so if you're a feminine artist: If you’re a gay male or transgender, that's the issue. I mean, congratulations to Young M.A to getting that, but that's not really groundbreaking.

For the Young Thug moment, that's fab that people are now taking fashion and being more gender-fluid. But gay people have been doing that forever: It’s kind of still straight privilege. For Young M.A to put on a dress — I mean Young Thug, but that’s fucking funny — for Young Thug to put a dress on is kind of like progressive. But for me to put on a dress, it’s not progressive. There’s a double standard.

Do you think there is a shift toward queer inclusiveness in hip-hop?
There's not this panel of people in hip-hop who are saying "we are being more welcoming to gay people." You have to keep in mind that hip-hop kind of came about after disco. The early rappers were kind of in the same places as gay people. You could even look at the early rap stars. They look kind of flamboyant. You know what I'm saying? It’s not really like there's a question of hip-hop. It's more so when the '90s came about, and there was that whole wave of hypermasculine, gangster rap music, which is what we're still in now. That's the problem. It's not rap or hip-hop, it's that whole toxic masculinity.

A lot of your lyrics are implicitly gay. A lot of gay musicians...
[Laughs] Well, I am implicitly gay.

Ha! A lot of openly gay musicians shy away from their queerness. Do you think it’s important to vocalize your queerness?
When I started making music, I never really thought that anyone would hear my music. Why would I be taken seriously? For me to be out, it wasn't an issue.

There are some privileges for being mysterious or not using specific gender pronouns in love songs. There is a kind of marketability to that. Do I get some setback for talking about blow jobs? Yes. But does that also empower some kids in Ohio? Yes. I think it's more so a gambling thing. What do you really want to do with the record.

My grandmother had a gay best friend, and when he would come over for the holidays he was fabulous. He had money, he wore a mink coat. We all loved him. That was a positive reassurance: that if you were gay, you would be loved. My first viewing of seeing gay people on television was the Stonewall riots documentary. For me, gay people were never painted as “less than” or “weaker than.” We were people that started revolutions and bought nice clothes.

Do you think the hip-hop world is ready to move out of gangster rap and embrace a queer superstar?
I think hip-hop is definitely the most mainstream it's ever been. It's always gonna have that "gangster" in itself, because everybody wants to be a damn gangster for some reason. I've always pointed the mirror back at the community. Obviously a fraternity in Atlanta probably isn’t going be into my record. I can make peace with that. The gay club in New York, though? You guys should be supporting me. The music isn't that bad, you know what I'm saying? The gays sustain a lot of these older divas who are still performing at Pride festivals. I feel like we should support each other.

If you got to hop on any mainstream pop star's track, who would you want to work with?
Definitely Nicki Minaj. Definitely.

That would be phenomenal. Why that hasn't happened yet?
Well, I'm not that big yet. I just need someone like Missy Elliott to put me in an incubator for, like, six months, and then it’s, like, done. I'll even go back in the closet at this point. I've been out long enough. I can go back in and start over. I came out in the third grade, I've proved enough already.

Wait, so you actually came out in the third grade?
Why would I lie about that? I told you my first piece of gay cinema was a documentary on Stonewall. I literally was ready to tell my mom I'm gay, and if she didn’t like it I was just gonna run away and live on the pier.

Diplo tweeted that he liked your album. When is that collaboration happening?
Sooner the fucking better, I hope! I don't know. Diplo is a very busy person and I'm a very busy girl, but I'm down. I'm sure it'll happen down the line sooner or later. I'm just constantly working on my own shit now. I have to strike while it's hot. I'm not getting any younger.

What's next for you?
I'm about to drop some new singles for the fall, prepping for a European tour and finalizing a new project with a whole new sound. I've been working in the same vein artistically for a few years, and I'm interested in using another side of my brain. I'm trying to be on the freshman XXL cover before I'm too old.

Cakes Da Killa Official Tour Dates
Sat Aug 26 Brooklyn - Afropunk Festival
Sun Aug 27 Chicago - Oakwood Beach
Tue Aug 29 Tel Aviv - Gagarin Club
Thu Aug 31 Berlin - YAMM
Fri Sep 1 Sopot - Soundrive Festival
Sat Sep 2 Oslo - Blaa
Mon Sep 4 Copenhagen - Ideal Bar
Wed Sep 6 Malmo - Inknst
Fri Sep 8 London -Jazz Cafe
Sun Sep 10 Dorset - Bestival
Wed Sep 13 Brno - Fleda
Thu Sep 14 Zurich - Exil
Fri Sep 15 Dudingen - Bad Bonn
Sat Sep 16 Paris - Smile Festival
Fri Sep 29 Lincoln - Lincoln Calling Festival
Fri Oct 6 Haverford - Haverford College
Sat Oct 21 Bristol - Simple Things Festival @ SWX Stage
Sat Oct 28 Tromso - Insomnia Festival

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Premiere: 12-Year-Old Rap Princess That Girl Lay Lay Introduces Tha Slay Gang With Fun "Long Hair" Video

It all started with some freestyle raps in her Dad's car that went viral on social media, now Houston's 12-year-old superstar rapper, Alaya High aka That Girl Lay Lay, is poised to take over the teen market and y'all grown-ups need to watch ya back too!

With an infectious hook game and bars that topple stars, Lay Lay burst onto the scene in 2018 with a crowd pleasing appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. That's the same year she dropped her Tha Cheat Code music project to adoring fans that were clamoring for a full body of work from the energetic artist. Having laid claim to signing a record deal as the youngest female rapper ever to her own label, Fresh Rebel Muzik/EMPIRE, Lay Lay is wasting no time in bringing her girls on this ride with her.

Pushing their first single, "Long Hair," Lay Lay and her two bouncy "Tha Slay Gang" group members, Sweets (hailing from South Carolina) and Sugar (repping North Carolina), are sure to dominate every pre-teen birthday, graduation and youth celebration party from here on out. The uptempo track is fun, super engaging and chorus friendly for the hyper masses. Lay Lay explains, "This is one of my favorite songs because its fun and something everyone can dance to. It’s about my friends 'Tha Slay Gang' and I sticking together, working hard and not getting into any drama! We try to demote bullies, and show the world that working hard pays off.”

The video takes place at a neon'd out roller skating rink, with the ladies leading a group of kids in a lit chant of the vocals and letting off one liners galore like: "I don't want no drama/If you go dumb then I'mma go dumber/hot girl winters and hot girl summers/If you knew me Daddy I'm Balenciaga Momma!" Just got to love the kids.

Check for Lay Lay in national tv commercial campaigns with Old Navy

and Mitsubishi.

So much more is on the way for this uber talented MC.

 

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Dave J Hogan

New Music Friday: Eminem, Mac Miller, Dreamville And More

Eminem fans were greeted with a pleasant surprise today, with 20 new tracks from the rap legend. But there's plenty of new music this week: Mac Miller fans are left with a final musical memory from him, Dreamville revamped their Grammy-nominated compilation, and Thundercat released a new single with Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington. Look below for today's New Music Friday.

Mac Miller – Circles The passing of Mac Miller in Sept. 2018 was one of the toughest losses that hip-hop has had in years, with the rapper/singer/producer’s kind spirit and immense artistic growth touching the lives of many. Today, his legacy continues with the release of Circles, his first posthumous album. According to a note from his family, Mac was “well into the process” of recording the Jon Brion-produced album, which was meant to be a companion piece to Swimming, the last album he released months before his death. Apple Music | TIDAL

Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By In the first major surprise release of the year, Eminem has surfaced out the blue with Music To Be Murdered By, the follow up to his 2018 surprise release Kamikaze. Eminem tweeted that the album was inspired by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, and the 20-track final product has guest appearances by the likes of Young M.A., Juice WRLD, Black Thought, Q-Tip, Anderson .Paak, and a partial Slaughterhouse reunion. Apple Music | TIDAL

Dreamville – Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director's Cut The Dreamville crew’s Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation made history in 2018, uniting over 100 musicians from around the world for a “rap camp” in Atlanta and earning a Grammy nomination in the process. Now, they’re releasing a deluxe edition with an extra 12 tracks from the same lineup that made the first edition special. Apple Music | TIDAL

Thundercat - “Black Quails” Jazz maestro Thundercat announced a new album this week, and the beautiful first single “Black Quails” has him playing and singing alongside Steve Lacy (of The Internet) and Steve Arrington. Apple Music | TIDAL

2 Chainz ft. Future - “Dead Man Walking”

Bad Boys For Life Soundtrack Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reunited for the third installment in their hit Bad Boys buddy cop franchise, and DJ Khaled flexed his superstar rolodex for the film's soundtrack. Meek Mill, Rick Ross, City Girls, The Black Eyed Peas, Pitbull, Nicky Jam, and more make contributions. Apple Music | TIDAL

Stretch and Bobbito + The M19s Band – No Requests Stretch and Bobbito are largely known for hosting the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show, a New York radio program from the 90s that welcomed many of the greatest rappers ever before they officially blew up. But they're music fans first, and their new album showcases their tastes to brilliant effect: the two DJs compiled a playlist of their favorite songs to DJ, and then they enlisted the handpicked M19s Band to play them live. Their foundation is hip-hop, but No Requests is a diverse set of Latin, afrobeat, samba, jazz, reggae and soul. Apple Music | TIDAL

Theophilus London – Bebey Theophilus London’s new album, Bebey, is “a celebration of self-love and represents a return to Theophilus' roots, inspired by his Caribbean heritage and the Brooklyn neighborhoods he grew up in, steeped in Dominican, Puerto Rican, Jamaican and his native Trinidadian traditions,” according to a press release. Tame Impala, Lil Yachty, Ian Isiah, Raekwon, Giggs, Ariel Pink, Gemaine, and Kristian Hamilton provide guest appearances. Apple Music | TIDAL

070 Shake – Modus Vivendi Many music fans discovered 070 Shake with her standout vocals on the G.O.O.D. Music run in 2018 with Kanye’s 2018 album Ye (“Ghost Town,” “Violent Crimes”), Pusha T’s Daytona (“Santeria”), and Nas’ Nasir (“Not For Radio,” “Everything”). Since then, the rapper/singer has been steadily taking her time to drop her G.O.O.D. Music debut, Modus Vivendi. Apple Music | TIDAL

Madlib and Oh No – The Professionals Recent years have seen all-time great producer Madlib enjoy critical acclaim after his two albums with Freddie Gibbs, and this year he's teaming up with his blood brother Oh No, a talented producer and rapper in his own right, for an album called The Professionals. Apple Music | TIDAL

Raekwon – The Appetition Three years after his stellar album The Wild, Chef Raekwon has teamed up with Red Bull to release The Appetition, a three-song EP of new songs with producers and songwriters from Red Bull Songs and created at Red Bull Studios in NYC. Apple Music | TIDAL

Tech N9ne – Enterfear Level 2 =One of the most prolific rappers of all time, indie or otherwise, Tech N9ne follows up his 2019 studio album N9NA with the EP ENTERFEAR Level 2. Apple Music | TIDAL

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Che Pope interviews Vincent “Tuff” Morgan, peermusic’s head of A&R urban/pop, on Q&A With Che.
HiStudios

Che Pope Talks ‘Q&A With Che’ Podcast, Kanye West, And Why He Left G.O.O.D. Music

At some point in your career, you want to pay it forward. Regardless of the industry you’re in, there comes a time when you reached a certain level of success and want to groom the next generation with your knowledge and expertise. Che Pope, a Boston native, veteran music producer, songwriter, and former head of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, is in a position to do just that. After spending seven years with G.O.O.D., as well as making music with critically-acclaimed artists like Lauryn Hill, Dr. Dre, and The Weeknd, Che Pope has utilized lectures and podcasts to discuss his diverse career, sharing a perspective tailored to young creatives who want some mentoring in their own paths. Pope’s experience allows him to give gems in all aspects of the music business – no matter if you’re an aspiring manager, producer, singer, or artist, he has a piece of advice that can apply to you. 

It’s why he’s finally launching a podcast of his own called Q&A With Che, a HiStudios Original, that’s available on the Himalaya app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more. He describes the show as “Ted Talks with the urban entertainment industry,” using his large network of friends for real conversations on how they made it. The format is more for educational purposes and using the platform to expand his Q&A section of his discussions, with each guest detailing what they do, how their industry works, and their take on the future. Che’s first guest is DMV rapper IDK, who is coming off a major 2019 with his partnership with Warner for his label Clue and the release of Is He Real? 

Speaking with VIBE over the phone, Che explains the genesis of Q&A With Che (the idea came after having a convo with Jay-Z), why IDK was the perfect first guest, his thoughts on Kanye and G.O.O.D. Music, and the books he’s reading today.

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VIBE: Q&A With Che is going to be part of HiStudios’ original programming slate. You’re alongside sport personalities that also have podcasts like Mike Tyson, Gilbert Arenas, and Caron Butler. If I did my research, you’re the first “music veteran” with a show on HiStudios. Was podcasting a logical next step in your career?

Che Pope: I think it was important for me to share the information. And just really what’s the best way to? Obviously, the lectures are great. That’s like, ‘Okay, cool. I go to Harvard Business School just so those kids get it.’ This was a way to really share it with a wider audience, with anybody. And I’ve been getting hit up on Instagram or Twitter where people are always asking me tons of questions and this was a way for me [to reach them]. So many people would be like, ‘Hey, can you mentor me?’ I can’t mentor all of them. This was kind of my way of like, ‘OK, I can’t mentor all of you, but I can do this.’ I think that is what really attracted me.

I had a really great conversation with Jay-Z about it and he just loved the idea of it and that really put a battery in my back. Because at one point in time, it was this great idea we had, and just getting caught up in work and [being] busy and not pursuing it. Once I spoke with Jay-Z and he said, ‘This is amazing. You have to do this.’ That really put the battery back, and then partnering with HiStudios and Himalaya, it just really gave me the team I needed to really bring it out there in the manner that I wanted to do, the professional level that I wanted to present it at.

So you were already thinking of podcasting back then. When did that Jay-Z convo happen?

That happened about two years ago in his living room.

How’d the convo go? Were you trying to pitch yourself to Tidal?

No, I actually wasn’t. He said, ‘You know, you’re more than welcome to consider Tidal.’ But he was like, ‘I just think it’s a great idea.’ I wasn’t actually pitching anything. We were just having a business conversation. I guess you could say the next step in my career is not only the podcast, but I also have a start-up. I was just getting business advice and out of that meet, Q&A came up.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the hip-hop podcast landscape. We got everybody from ItsTheReal’s, which you were on. The Joe Budden Podcast. Rap Radar Podcast. Do you see the success of those guys as motivation to reach that level or are they competition?

I don’t think they’re competition. We are really two different things. I’m much more like Ted Talks than I am No Jumper, ItsTheReal, Joe Budden. Although ItsTheReal is a little bit different than Joe Budden. Joe Budden wants to be opinionated, sort of controversial at times and really drive listeners on entertainment. Mine is much more educational focused. Entertaining in the fact that people who are going to be on it cause anyone could be on it. It could be anyone from Diddy to someone you haven’t heard of. I think it is entertaining in that [regard], but it is much more educational than I am trying to entertain you and be controversial and all that kind of stuff.

And I think it's really interesting that you chose IDK as your first guest. He’s coming off his Warner partnership for Clue and his album Is He Real? dropped last year. He’s a younger rapper but he has this business savviness to him. Why did you want to interview him?

That’s specifically why. I built a relationship with the kid cause he was in negotiations at one point and time to sign with G.O.O.D. Music. He is from the DMV area originally, which is where my mom is from. So we kind of made a cool connection a few years back when he was still this independent kid coming up trying to figure it out. But he was far more informed than most artists I meet. He was talking to me about his independent promotion and his marketing plan and things of that nature, which he had written himself. And I was like, ‘Wow, this kid is [incredible].’ When he finally did the deal with Warner, he was just the perfect first guest for me cause he is living what these kids want to do, what many of them want to do. His journey is really a testament to educating and empowering yourself and challenging. He had overcome adversity. He had been in jail before. It built himself up from scratch. Really talented story and his story is just getting started. I think the sky's the limit to where he can go.

Before I let you go, I want to talk about Kanye. You’ve been there since Yeezus. You’ve been there since Cruel Summer. Now, he’s on this new trajectory of dedicating himself to God, releasing Jesus Is King and Jesus Is Born. He’s no longer making secular music and is reportedly done performing solo shows. When you were working with him, did you see any early signs that his artistry was progressing towards this?

No, but I would say the thing with him is he is always evolving. I would say you never know what is next, which is exciting. I couldn’t say I saw this coming, at all. You never know what’s next, I will say that, which is one of the exciting things when working with him, for better or for worse, you know? Whether it was a Trump hat or “slavery was a choice” comment or whatever, or those amazing moments like Yeezus or some of the amazing musical experiences I was apart of. You never knew what was coming and that was exciting. I wish him the best on it. When it was time for me to move on? I wish him the best with it.

You were with G.O.O.D. Music for six and a half years?

Yeah, seven years. Since 2011. I was one of the longest running people that lasted the longest with him [Laughs].

Why did you want to leave?

I think for me it was the next progression in my career. To transition from working with somebody and helping them build their stuff to building my own company. I am building a music incubator, start-up. It was really sort of the next progression in my career. I had to take that step as a business owner. And that takes a lot of work, a lot of focus, and a lot of commitment, you know? It’s one of those things. They say that saying, ‘if it was easy, everybody could do it?’ It’s not easy.

You once described your role at G.O.O.D. with Noah Goldstein as “getting shit done.” Now that Pusha-T has taken the role as president, what do you think of his “term” so far?

I think Pusha-T is an artist, and I think he has aspirations of his own label. I don’t know what’s going on with G.O.O.D. Music. It’s kind of like in…what’s the word when something is in suspended in time? Desiigner left the label. I know 070 [Shake] is putting her album out, but that’s more Def Jam. I don’t think there’s really a G.O.O.D. Music focus there.

I think Kacy Hill isn’t there either, right?

Yeah, Kacy Hill left. I do think they still have some artists. I know Teyana is active. I don’t really know much about what’s going on these days at G.O.O.D. Pusha-T is one of my favorite artists, and I think he’s still focused on Pusha-T. I don’t know what his involvement is with the label at all or a day-to-day basis or if he’s still involved at all. 

I think that means we’re going to see something major happen. Big Sean still has his album coming out, so maybe something like that.

Yeah. Big Sean’s coming. I’m sure Pusha’s coming. I know 070 Shake’s album is amazing. I’ve heard it so I’m excited for her because I know it’s a long time coming and she’s great. She’s gonna be on the Swedish House Mafia project as well. I think she could really be one of the next, big young artists.

I saw that books are your thing. What are you reading now?

As far as this year, I want to read as many as I can. I have different people that turn me onto books. You never know what someone is going to refer. Right now, I am reading Ben Horowitz’s new book What You Do Is Who You Are. I think Ben is just a brilliant guy and the fact that he loves hip-hop too, which is really cool. Anytime he drops a book, I try to get it.

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