Delivering a proud homage to years of head-turning ingenuity, Chicago rapper CupcakKe solidified her status as an unabashed lyrical powerhouse with Eden — the star’s second album release.
Elizabeth Eden Harris, known professionally as CupcakKe, became an overnight phenomenon following the success of raunchy hits such as “Deep Throat” and “Vagina.” CupcakKe’s charm stems from a commitment to authenticity. From spewing bars about her latest sexual conquest to delivering biting condemnations of racism and police brutality in songs such as “Picking Cotton,” the rapper has nurtured a public image rooted in transparency.
While the church-attending, poet-turned-rapper initially garnered a massive social media following entranced by the novelty of raw, sex-positive verses, CupcakKe’s thematically eclectic repertoire has compelled committed fans and critics alike to keep their eyes and ears open for more. Eden delivers.
Eden embodies CupcakKe’s unique success story with a track listing composed of her signature obscenities, cultural awareness and just the right amount of braggadocio.
In the album’s first track, “PetSmart,” CupcakKe reminds listeners of her appeal. Harris delivers cleverly composed, culturally relevant verses over percussion-driven, syncopated beats. A constant, high-pitched meter resembling the sound of a countdown sets the stage for CupcakKe, who delivers heavy-hitting flows such as, “B****, I got so many bars / That Azealia Banks call me when she needs soap,” and “Had to check that b****, I’m Netflix rich / No Miley Cyrus, I wreck that b****.” Right off the bat, CupcakKe acknowledges her own success and unapologetically places herself above other music industry moguls.
Still, her witty references are shaped by pop culture current events that appeal almost exclusively to young, devoted fans. Classic CupcakKe lines such as, “He ain’t eatin’ right, so I make the cat fart,” in the brag anthem “Starbucks” serve as hat-tips to long-time listeners whose niche love for the rapper’s antics brought about her unlikely success.
On top of self-esteem boosting bangers such as Latin-horn driven “Prenup” and sex-positive “Typo,” the album also explores the serious and sentimental. “A.U.T.I.S.M.” and “Cereal and Water” continue a lineage of hard-hitting topical songs in CupcakKe’s discography. “Cereal and Water” offers a critique of society’s materialistic priorities, which often pit members of the black community against one another, Eden explains. “A.U.T.I.S.M.’s” central message lies in the chorus’ acronymic meaning: A Unique Thinking Individual Strongly Matters.
Conversely, “A.U.T.I.S.M’s” chorus highlights one of Eden’s most prominent faults. While finding salvation in a more holistic production quality than previous albums, Eden suffers from throw-away choruses. Songs such as “Quiz” find CupcakKe devouring a busy beat with her flow only to devolve into an underdeveloped chorus. Similarly, “Garfield” offers an overly-repetitive break to an otherwise compelling composition, and the tear-jerking potential of “A.U.T.I.S.M.” is completely interrupted by the chorus’s rhythmic and rhetorical simplicity.
Nonetheless, Eden is undoubtedly the product of a self-made artist committed to her craft. Without a single song missing a brow-raising phrase or beat drop, the album is an embodiment of CupcakKe’s potential to join a dynasty of female rappers on the level of Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj, who valiantly and effortlessly subvert the conventions of an industry in need of creative salvation.