Cakes da Killa – #IMF – Review

Reggie Myers

After an eventful 2014, which included two Hunger Pang mixtapes, a Hot 97 interview and a documentary, Cakes da Killa returned just in time for Valentine’s Day with a new EP titled #IMF. Blending hip-hop with house, trap, and bass music and using producers SXYLK, FXWRK and C¥CLØ, the rapper masterfully delivers a story of lust, infatuation, manipulation and lies.

The EP unfolds like a short story told in Shakespearean form with the opening and closing track summarizing what will later be delved into in detail. Some songs also include lyrics from the previous song to signal the continuing theme to first time listeners.

Opening with ‘#IMF’, Cakes da Killa starts to tell us about a fling he had with a masculine man who may or may not openly identify as a gay (referred to as trade by some). Over a pulsing house beat and congo drums, he raps about how he wanted it to become more even though he knew it couldn’t. It’s hinted from the beginning that his interest is currently in a relationship with the rapper playing the sidepiece. Like the beginning of a Shakespeare play, Cakes da Killa gives listeners an overview of what occurred and ponders his feelings in the aftermath.

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He ponders whether his interest was ever feeling him asking, ‘I know you touching me/But are you feeling me?’

The first song does not give listeners the sense that the EP is a five-song long story, but the rapper’s wordplay skills will make any fan of rap and hip-hop want to listen to the rest of the project to see what else he is going to give them.

‘Do That Baby’ featuring Quay Dash starts with an ominous horn sound and a house beat that has a dark and suspenseful feel. The lyrics find Cakes da Killa lustful and on the prowl. Influences from overtly sexual female rappers like Lil’ Kim and Trina are evident as the rapper brags on his sex game with lyrics like, ‘A young Midas with the touch ’cause the puss pure gold.’ These are not the only rappers Cakes da Killa gives a nod to throughout the song with a chorus that was influenced by LL Cool J’s ‘Jingling Baby’ and an ending influenced by A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Award Tour’.

After the first verse, the beat is interrupted with an Indian song sample with some of its elements influencing the beat until the song ends. An sample of Rihanna’s ‘You’re The One’ can also be heard in the background. The bragging continues with  ‘Watch my head game raise the dead like Anubis/how I do this/the tongue game something ruthless’. Throughout the song, he also boasts on his ability to keep his feeling separated from the sex but the end of each verse reveals this is becoming more a struggle. This is especially true towards the end of the second verse when he raps:

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‘Uncut piece got me sprung like you the one son/but I’m far from dumb/You can’t pipe without a condom/Let’s sit back/Play some Spyro the Dragon/Just relaxing, while I’m rubbing on your package’

The mixtape’s next song, ‘Love Jones’ finds the beat slowing while the plot thickens. The Rihanna sample can be heard once again in the background while a piano plays. The song finds Cakes da Killa telling us the final score of last song’s game of cat and mouse. He raps about the pain of falling for someone who can’t be yours due to their manipulation and lies with lines like,

‘Reading back mixed signals from my iPhone/Was just in it for the nut, then you shoulda just said so/How you play victim/Use my feelings for scapegoat/Now I’m feeling like fuck these niggas when all I really wanna do is put my trust in niggas’

This song incorporates lyrics from the end, which is meant to indicate those who may be first time listeners that these songs are not simply one-offs.

‘Wide Open’ continues along with Cakes da Killa continuing to deal with the pain and confusion he began to speak of ‘Love Jones’. The song samples Minnie Riperton’s famous hit ‘Loving You’, a perfect contradictory element to not only add depth to the beat but let listeners know what to expect from Cakes da Killa as well. Cakes da Killa seems to exhibit opposing thoughts and emotions throughout ‘Wide Open’. Some lyrics find the rapper resolving to keep his emotions separate while the chorus suggests the ship has already sailed for that. Also, the song makes it seem as if the rapper has accepted his role as the side piece while others suggest Cakes da Killa is hurt due to the fact he can’t have him to himself  and love him in the open. Other lyrics suggest their fling has come to a close, while other suggest they haven’t quite resolved to leave each other alone yet.

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‘Mixed Messages’ summarizes the story again, starting from Cakes da Killa’s original intentions to him falling for someone who was supposed to be a fling. Much like ‘Wide Open’, ‘Mixed Messages’ presents clashing elements such as the sound of someone singing ‘I wanna be your lover’ while the rapper spends most of the verse bragging about his sexual prowess. As the EP comes to a close, Cakes da Killa is left feeling vulnerable and uncertain with him admitting ‘I don’t remember feeling like this’ before the beat trails off.

Ultimately, Cakes da Killa’s #IMF, while short, proves to fans and critics the rapper is an adept storyteller and far from a gimmick. A look at Cakes da Killa’s flow and lyrics will reveal a rapper who has taken his time to study classics in both literature and hip-hop while others have relied on the gimmick of their sexual orientation. And it has been his dedication to the craft that has allowed him to stay around and gain more notoriety and respect from industry staples like Hot 97 while other rappers whose names arose during the ‘homo-hop’ trend have already been forgotten. Fans can only speculate what 2015 has in store for the rapper, but if this EP is any indication of what listeners can expect from the rapper, then we can expect to see Cakes da Killa’s star rise and reach new heights.

About Reggie Myers

Reggie Myers is a writer and communications professional living in Philadelphia, Pa., where he graduated from Temple University. Music, television, film, books, video games, politics, and human sexuality are just a few of the many things that make him tick. When he's not working behind a computer screen, you can find him looking for new adventures, practicing photography, scheming ways to get to the front row of a concert, or scouring the corners of the internet for new music to put his friends on to. @reggieakil