There's a late ‘80s glamour to Cakes da Killa's newest video, "Truth Tella." Shot in black and white, Cakes first appears framed in a "Printemps-Été" look book. The camera zooms in on the New Jersey rapper's silhouette—his smooth, bare shoulders, and the back of his head covered in a Audrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady floral hat. The beat is enthralling and a little menacing. Cakes turns around slowly as he begins to rap, relentlessly fierce and confident.
The theme is high fashion at is most unabashedly commanding: an oversaturated, ballroom elegance, even in black and white. "We wanted a super elegant, Dior and Calvin Klein-esque visual to contrast the song," explains Cakes. "We also wanted something that was simple, timeless and compelling." Throughout the video, Cakes strikes poses in an array of Philip Treacy-inspired hats from Harlem's Heaven Hat Boutique. As he reaches the songs climatic chorus, he faces the camera and starts to unveil himself from beneath a hooded fur coat. The slow motion is intercut with flashes of Cakes in rapid movement, his face blurred. He's not a man you want to fuck with.
Directed by Sef "Minister Atkins," "Truth Tella" is the first video from Cakes' second mixtape Hunger Pangs, which comes out next week. "If it had to have a narrative, it would be about the conflicted pastor's son who just happens to be a gay icon," says Cakes. "Originally for the song I wanted to have a typical party type rap video, but when I thought about the most respected truth tellers that impact lives, I gravitated towards pastors delivering sermons," he continues. "Sef is an amazing director with church boy roots who uses a lot of religious themes. Together we wanted to play that up by paying homage to Baptist church fashions."
+ Hunger Pangs Interview Roundup +
Cakes Da Killa on anime, traveling, and that mysterious part of life called "post-grad"
If you don't know about Cakes da Killa, then you should. Since putting out his first EP, Easy Bake Oven, in 2011 he's been featured in publications like Pitchfork, Details, and Paper Magazine all while traveling internationally for packed, blown-out shows. He's since released a follow-up mixtape, The Eulogy, and featured with artists like Big Momma and P3CULIAR to hold fans at bay while preparing for his 2014 mixtape, Hunger Pangz.
Mannyo: In a couple of interviews you've given in the past you've said something along the lines that your next mixtape sounds like the score of a really crazy street fighter game. What video games do you play now or did you play growing up?
Cakes da Killa: I don't play any games now because I don't seem to have the time to, but when I was younger I was all about fucking people up in fighting games. Some of my favorites included Soulcalibur, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Tekken, Mortal Kombat…the list goes on. Basically, if I could be a skinny, scantily clad chick who could fuck mad dudes up I was into it.
M: If you could live in any world from a video game, tv show, or movie, which would it be and why?
C: I think I would live in Aeon Flux, but the cartoon series not the movie. The art direction in that series was so sleek and sexy. I miss quality shit like that on my television.
M: You've noted anime as something that helps inspire your music, so after a long day when you just want to relax, which anime do you turn on? And don't let it be Boku no Pico!
C: Honestly, I don't watch as much anime as I used to, but I'm all about Tenchi Muyo, Outlaw Star, Samurai Champloo, Afro Samurai and Cowboy Bebop to just name a few. I'm a fan of really dope art styling, fashion, and heavy concepts with a strong narrative. That's what I'm all about.
M: I know you recently finished up a tour in Europe and Australia a little while back; what's your favorite thing to do on those long, international flights?
C: Flights are the only time I can really sit and watch new movies. I also sleep a lot. If it's a cute situation I also eat as much free food and liquor as I can. Yes, I'm the one ordering two glasses of wine at a time. I also listen to a lot of music if the airlines have a good selection.
M: And finally, how's post-grad life for you? I remember reading an interview forever ago that you did with The Untitled Mag (now closed) where you talked about graduating as your number one goal at the moment. My post-grad life was pretty shitty at the beginning - unpaid internships, living with my parents, no money, but things finally turned around for me after a lot of perseverance and applications, so I wanted to check up on you too.
C: Same. Still living with parents which will not be my reality for long. I tried the whole internship thing and working for free to prove myself to people, but I'm just not that type of person. Rapping and traveling is taking up too much of my time as is, but I wouldn't mind working at a magazine to bring some fresh flavor - I know a lot of publications that need a facelift.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Rashard and I’m from Teaneck, NJ.
When did you first get in to music?
I’ve always been into music but I started rapping in High School because the straight boys did it and I was better. I became a recording artist in college though. I never really considered myself a rapper until recently.
Have you always wanted to be a rapper?
No. I wanted to be a journalist. It’s still funny that I am a rapper because it was never my dream literally fell into it.
Describe your sound for anyone that hasn’t heard you?
My sound is very made-up of very fast, densely packed lyrics layered over loud dance beats. I’d like to think that sonically I would be the love child of Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott.
Explain why music is important to you?
Music is important to be because it helps me maintain my feelings and thoughts. Its also the main way I express myself.
Describe the last year for you?
A whole lot of shows, shoots, trips to the studio, networking, drinking and turning up.
Are you excited to perform at TNM?
For me performing is always a mixture of excitement and an intense anxiety. I only feel comfortable with it when I’m actually performing on stage.
What do you like about Festivals?
The turn up is always very potent. I like watching people crowd surf too though I would never.
Any new music for us to look forward to?
New mixtape dropping soon called Hunger Pangs.
Explain how people can maintain be fabulous like you?
Drink lots of water. Don’t drink soda. Don’t eat after 8pm. Exfoliate. Be positive. Get a therapist and/or a diary for personal growth. Listen to Cakes Da Killa.
First Source reveals the official drop date for Cakes' mixtape, Hunger Pangs! Listening party is tonight in NYC, is anyone going?