The numbly-tongued gay rapper finally puts out his debut album.Ruffians / Thirty Tigers, 2016
6.5 / 10
Cakes Da Killa’s aesthetic—a liquid-tongued rapper who flaunts his gay lifestyle in the same way a straight rapper might brag about the women he’s slept with—is still novel enough to shock the more conservative hip-hop enthusiasts, but those who’ve grown used to it now have a different sort of problem. His breakout mixtape, The Eulogy, is more than three years old and is more sonically cohesive, daring, and fun than the man’s debut album, Hedonism (fuck, Eulogy was more hedonistic than Hedonism). The closest thing I can account for a meaningful artistic change is that Cakes is seemingly willing to cut down on flaunting his sexuality to make his brand of LGBT hip-hop go down smooth, which he’s free to do and might pay off down the line but, well, when you remove the element of yourself that makes you stand out from the crowd, you’re supposed to replace it with something if you still want to stand out, you know?
It isn’t that Hedonism is awful. The maths and English of it are kinetic enough that it never bores, and “Tru Luv” contains enough salt to piss off the red states for a healthy while. It would work fine as a light introduction to Cakes’s body of music, or it would work fine if he didn’t burst onto the scene three years ago on a mixtape that cracked one of our year-ends.