“Murder my pussy without the gunshot / Just shoot me up my ass crack with a cum shot”: even if these lyrics don’t inspire you, hopefully this column will.
I’ve been a sincere fan of Cupcakke for over a year — since 2016, when her music video for “LGBT” became a sensation in the queer community for its powerful message of self-love. In the song, Cupcakke’s brand of queer advocacy was nothing short of revolutionary. She didn’t provide the cringe-worthy “Love is Love” message espoused by other gay songs (ahem, Macklemore). She didn’t depict queerness as a straight-laced suburban white couple with an equality bumper sticker. No, Cupcakke’s “LGBT” embraced queer sexuality in all its dirty glory. The song is fun and raunchy while remaining political. She even uncommonly acknowledges the diverse spectrum of queer identities: “Shout out to the bis, you don’t gotta pick a side / And if you in the closet shorty you ain’t gotta hide.” The single’s cover depicts Cupcakke standing at a presidential podium, middle fingers up, in front of a rainbow flag. F— the haters.
Around the time “LGBT” gained popularity, Cupcakke’s other work was gaining traction among queer and straight listeners alike. Her repertoire of songs is incredibly diverse. Cupcakke — the stage name of Elizabeth Eden Harris — raps about childhood sexual abuse (“Pedophile”), self-hatred (“Self-Interview”), body image (“Biggie Smalls”) and, perhaps most famously, about sex. Regardless of her subject matter, she gives us unshakable self-confidence and the cleverest wordplay of any rapper in the business. Though her rhymes are often funny, Cupcakke’s music isn’t just a party gag — her adept lyricism has garnered attention by highbrow critics. Her ratings on Pitchfork, a notoriously stringent music criticism site, rival those of rappers like Drake and Lil Wayne. And did I mention she’s only twenty years old?
Cupcakke’s music is no contrived commercial feat. She rose to internet fame from humble beginnings, all because of her clever wordplay and, most importantly, her inspiring outlook. Cupcakke preaches a message that’s hard to come by: that we are beautiful not despite our “flaws”, but because of them. She builds on a proud tradition of black female artists like Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott and Rihanna, who defy a white supremacist culture by taking pride in their sexuality. She’s proud of her fetishes, her body hair and her stretchmarks. In her words: “Size 7 or 11, I’mma still be a hottie.”
A recent column in the News excoriated Cupcakke for using profane lyrics. Cupcakke’s profanity is undeniable — if you don’t like profanity, you shouldn’t listen to Cupcakke, or most other rap. But it is unfair to dismiss the importance of Cupcakke’s work because of its profanity. In fact, in profanity and crudeness lies a lot of courage and bravery. For femme and queer people, especially femme and queer people of color, Cupcakke is the rare artist who speaks with total liberation about sex — and she does it with a unique combination of dirtiness and comedic flare. You can’t tell me “Coochie guaranteed to put you to sleep so damn soon / Ridin’ on your dick I’m readin’ ‘Goodnight Moon’” isn’t genius.
The most objectionable claim made in opposing columns is that Cupcakke’s sexually explicit lyrics encourage an unhealthy sexual climate. This argument is terribly misguided. The singular piece of evidence some have provided to support that claim is a line from her popular song “Deepthroat,” whose line “daddy better make me choke” some authors have conflated with encouragement of rape culture. There is no line in Cupcakke’s music that supports rape culture. When Cupcakke raps “Daddy better make me choke,” it is a sincere expression of a consensual act that many of us desire in the bedroom. In fact, Cupcakke’s lyrics critique rape culture at every turn. In the very same song, Cupcakke disparages the use of alcohol as a way to entice someone into a hookup: “Don’t need no drink to get naughty / ’Cause bitch I’m not Bill Cosby.”
I’m thrilled to see Cupcakke perform at Spring Fling, and I’m proud of the Spring Fling committee for choosing such a groundbreaking artist. I also have tickets to see Cupcakke this month, so I’ll be seeing her twice. I hope she performs “Spoiled Milk Titties” — that’s one of my favorites.
See you in the spring!
Nolan Phillips is a senior in Trumbull College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .