QUEEN ELIZABITCH by CupcakKe
Genre: Hardcore Hip Hop
Favorite Tracks: “33rd,” “Biggie Smalls,” “Cumshot,” “Civilized.” “Reality Pt. 4”
I always worry whenever a female rapper gets a lot of hype. The pessimist in me worries that we are so desperate for some estrogen in such a testosterone-filled genre that we’ll accept mediocrity if it means we’ll get more of a feminine presence in rap. Certainly there are exceptions, but for every female rapper like Noname, who deserves every bit of hype they get, there’s a Tink, who dropped one fantastic song in “Ratchet Commandments” and hasn’t come close to releasing anything as humorous and scathing since. Nonetheless, I feel secure in saying QUEEN ELIZABITCH shows no signs of CupcakKe squandering her potential. It’s a little all over the place in terms of tone, but the beats are bright and colorful, and CupcakKe is just as uproariously vulgar, shameless, and full of conviction as she was on her first few hits.
CupcakKe initially got huge off of some of the raunchiest sex jams I’ve ever heard from a female artist, and she continues to approach the topic with no subtlety and plenty of gooey detail. Though these represent only a fourth of the record, they provide the record’s most consistent and energetic movements, as CupcakKe delivers one wince-inducing yet hilarious simile about sex after another. She is so creative and ridiculous in her descriptions, claiming she has, “three holes like a pretzel” and bragging, “If sucking dick was a drug I’m overdosing like Whitney.” The bouncy, trap-flavored instrumentation and triumphant horns and violins are a reminder that sex is supposed to be fun, which might be hard to deduce from how miserable and dark other sex jams can be.
On a technical level, QUEEN ELIZABITCH is competent but a little rough. Some of the beats can come off as trendy, especially the Major Lazer-esque beat and percussion on “Biggie Smalls.” While the record encapsulates Top 40 slickness well enough, the darker tracks with glassier keyboards like “Quick Thoughts” and “Toys R Us” are too similar percussion-wise to the rest of the record, and lack a rawness that could match CupcakKe’s hoarse vocals. “Scraps” is the only one of these darker cuts that fully works with its sad, limp horn that contrasts well with CupcakKe’s maniacal, aggressive delivery. Her flow is often awkward as she forgets how many syllables were supposed to go into a line, and though her punchlines are usually on-point, there are a few too many flubs here. “I’m more happy than a happy meal” is inexcusably bad, and I don’t think bragging about having an article in MTV is an effective boast.
Rap concerns itself a lot with authenticity. At only 19, people may initially write off CupcakKe as a poser, but she possesses a force of personality that allows her to feel right at home with body-empowerment anthems, simple, boisterous brag rap, and conscious tracks about social issues like homelessness and the pandemic of fathers absent from their children’s life in black communities. It would be impossible to confuse her with any other MC out there, and that’s a huge compliment. The most enjoyable song on the record is not any of the sex jams but album closer “Reality Pt. 4,” an acapella, spoken-word track about her rise to fame after being illiterate but incredibly horny at 12 and having sex with men 20 years her senior at 15. I would have never thought that an artist who got big off of “Deepthroat” and “Vagina” could make such a harrowing, unflinching tune, but that’s part of the allure and mystery of CupcakKe.
There’s a lot that could be improved upon here. The beats could use more variation and the record suffers from some repetitive song topics near the end. Nonetheless, it’s further proof that CupcakKe is a versatile MC with an astute ear for detail, either for humorous or dramatic effect, and it’s the most technically consistent record or mixtape she’s put out yet. It’s a lot harder to teach someone to have a personality than it is to teach them to rap, and CupcakKe only needs to work on the latter, not the former. The hype here is not because she has two XX chromosomes, it’s because QUEEN ELIZABITCH is just a damn good hip hop album.