Why, yes, CupcaKKe is vulgar. She paints her imagery with a palette of whites, browns, and pinks. A lot of pinks. In 2017, Slurpers, the name of CupcaKKe’s rabid and growing fanbase, anxiously awaited her dick-sucking updates, especially when she promised to release a new album after surpassing 2,017 phalluses. With that number came the Chicago rapper’s third studio album, Ephorize. Like last year’s Queen Elizabitch, she simultaneously embraces her filthy public persona while using tracks to focus on more sober subjects like growing-up on Chicago’s South Side, the LGBTQ community, and her own insecurities. The result is a raucous, crisply-produced record buoyed by CupcaKKe’s confident voice and mammoth personality.
The album’s first three tracks are a microcosm for the album, showcasing CupcaKKe’s prowess of heart, wit, and vulgarity, respectively. In “2 Minutes,” the lead, a melancholic CupcaKKe mourns life’s fragility. She gives listeners a glimpse of life in a mean Chicago neighborhood with lines like “I done placed so many flowers on different graves/I tell my dates now, don’t bring a rose”.
The following track, “Cartoons,” exhibits CuppcaKKe’s penchant for one liners— “Give ‘em Smurf dick, that’s balls blue”— and original beats. “Cartoons” is set to a glitchy beat that sounds like Tibetan Singing Bowls played by a Buddhist on uppers. (Production was handled primarily by Def Starz, though “Cartoons” and two other tracks are credited to Turreekk.)
And, of course, there is the endearingly filthy “Duck, Duck, Goose.” It begins with the line “”I thought I came but I peed on the dick” and continues from there, punctuated with a chorus performed in a full moan. This track, along with its NSFW music video, can be filed under what CupcaKKe refers to as her “freaky shit”.
The rest of the album fluctuates between these tones. When they meld together, it is to the song’s benefit. Her realness and raffishness come together on “Crayons,” which, like Lgbt before it, is lovingly dedicated to the LGBTQ community. Lines comparing cumming in another man’s ass to a volcano eruption unabashedly disrupt hip hop’s overwhelmingly heteronormative culture.
More often than not, however, these tones operate within their own spheres. This is at the detriment to tracks like “Cinnamon Toast Crunch”, which rely on her witty one-liners to skewer adversaries. When the wit runs dry, CupcaKKe turns to clunky comparisons. Take the track’s chorus: “I got bitches wanna box me like I’m cinnamon toast crunch/I just pull up and I spray up like I’m cinnamon toast crunch.” One is left wondering how exactly and in what matter cereal pulls up and sprays. In fact, “2 Minutes’” earnest message is hamstrung by easily-dismissed lines like these.
These are the blemishes one might expect from a young artist who prioritizes her fully fleshed (emphasis on flesh) voice over the depth of her imagery. No matter, Ephorize remains dirty fun with a mammoth heart.