“Eden” is CupcakKe’s second album of 2018. (Photo courtesy of Muzeroom)
CupcakKe is potentially one of the oddest success stories of recent years. She first found recognition on her viral sensation “Deepthroat” in 2015. In most cases, the artists that tend to go viral in this regard simply fail to make anything else that captures anyone else’s attention, whether it be from a lack of creativity, an inability to keep people interested or some combination of the two. However, CupcakKe defied the odds. Her debut mixtape in 2016 found itself being recognized positively in Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, and she has only gathered more praise since. With her new album “Eden,” she is certain to keep up this winning streak.
Since the beginning of her career, CupcakKe has thrived on making extremely raunchy, sex-positive songs. This makes sense, as it is what gave her attention in the first place and it is what her fans enjoy the most from her. However, for a while, it seemed she was risking typecasting herself as “that raunchy rapper.” While she certainly made other songs, these were the only ones giving her recognition. On “Eden,” CupcakKe finds herself going into extremely new and more mature lyrical content. The most glaring example of this is the closing song “A.U.T.I.S.M.” Here, she dedicates her closing two minutes to lifting up those who have autism, cleverly making “autism” into an anagram for “a unique thinking individual strongly matters.” It is an extremely sweet and thoughtful moment from a rapper who is usually extremely brash.
The most unavoidable moment on the album is the lead single, “Quiz.” The beat in the song is potentially one of the most interesting of any rap songs this year. It is a stunning electronic backing over an otherwise very hard rap song. It is a fantastic contrast that demands attention, with a deceptively catchy hook to boot. In fact, the production across the board is something special. It is usually difficult for production to stand out on independent album releases, due to the lack of resources that would come with a record deal, but CupcakKe has managed to find some incredible producers to work with her. Every beat not only stands out on the song, but also compliments the song itself well.
The most entertaining thing about listening to a CupcakKe song is the sheer number of hilarious one-liners she can fit into a short song. Nearly every other line in a CupcakKe song deserves to be framed somewhere, and the songs on “Eden” are no exception. Two of the less explicit personal standouts are, “I got so many bars that Azealia Banks call me when she needs soap,” on “Petsmart,” and “They ask, ‘Is it Cupcake or CupcakKe?’ I said, ‘However the money pronounced’ on “Prenup.” Her lyrics range wildly from hilarious, like in these examples, to extremely meaningful like on the aforementioned “A.U.T.I.S.M,” to extremely raunchy such as on “Typo” and “Garfield.”
However, none of these things would matter without pure skill. Rap is a hard genre to break into, because it is so easy to deliver lyrics poorly or ineffectively, or to simply not be talented enough to make a captivating album. However, CupcakKe proves herself to be a master of delivery once again on “Eden.” She switches up her flow effectively throughout the album, and never takes herself too seriously. It is clear that she is aware of what people will find amusing in her songs, and she cleverly structures her delivery and song to give that the most attention. The most blatant example of this being the incredible chorus of “Typo.”
“Eden” stands out as CupcakKe’s best work to date. With clever one-liners, diverse subject matters and pure skill, CupcakKe delivers what may, to most, be a career defining album with ease, but will also likely continue to go up from here.
Final Grade: A