A rapper from Chicago Illinois continues to grace the online music scene with her explicit lyrics and raunchy music videos, her newest album ‘Queen Elizabitch’, released this March.
Originally a poet in her local church choir, Elizabeth Harris has expanded her horizons, swapping blessings and hymns for ‘Deepthroat’ and ‘Anal’. She told Shane Dawson in his YouTube video ‘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”.
Her song ‘Vagina’ went swiftly viral in 2015 on YouTube, now boasting an impressive 1,930,556 views. She has released two albums to date and multiple mixtapes.
What may had first been perceived as a cringey viral video and five minutes of fame, has blossomed into a growing career with a dedicated following.
The internet loves her. CupcakKe’s Youtube channel has 230,000 followers and a fanfare she has named her ‘slurpers’.
It is difficult to establish whether her fans are ironic or genuine. It may be deemed awkward playing her lyrics in a public setting, or to display your pride for the singer around anyone other than close friends. Comments on her videos vary from respect and seemingly genuine support from fans, to shock or trolling.
It would appear CupcakKes musical talent has branched out from more than just sex, however, approaching more serious topics of late. She has written ‘LGBT’ a song discussing the issue of homophobia, ‘Peadophile’ 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 from viewers as opposed to 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 in the YouTube community? Or should we be congratulating the youth in their ability to accept a freer and more liberal music taste, looking past the grunting and grinding to reveal the positive message underneath? Have ironic likes gone too far?
Sure CupcakKe’s music might not be something you share with your family, but then again Nicki Minaj or Ariande Grande lyrics around your grandparents aren’t too great either. Music in general, especially in the charts, tends to be hyper sexual, so to demonise and condemn CupcakKe could edge on hypocritical. Like Marek has argued, her rise to fame is down to her explicitness and shock tactics and has been what has allowed her to reach a large audience and approach more genuine topics that matter to her.
In terms of the impact on her content, this relies mainly on the viewers themselves. The knee-jerk reaction to first viewing her videos is the negative impact this may have in projecting women sexually, though surely if viewers are of age and mature enough this shouldn’t be a problem. The representation of women in music sexually is a whole other controversial battle in itself.
The initial experience of her work may evoke pity, it seems like an obvious cry for attention, degrading herself on the internet for fame and money, this doesn’t exactly show women in the best light. Her tactics are successful, however, as the saying goes, she’s either really smart or really stupid and she isn’t the first woman to use her sexuality in that manner. It’s really a debate about whether it’s an expression of sexual power and equality or self-degradation.
Fans assure that CupcakKe’s music is a positive expression of women’s’ sexuality as opposed to presenting women as objects and with CupcakKe devoting songs to body image and self-confidence, her intentions can be confirmed. If viewers are able to interpret it correctly, where is the harm?
CupcakKe’s growth to fame is an interesting case, much like Gangnam style and other unlikely trending Youtube stars. It shows how ironic likes and viral jokes in the Youtube world can solidify into genuine fame and gradual respect. Whilst many still view her videos for a laugh or as vulgar and others as a secret pleasure, her popularity is undeniable and harmless.
If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.