The moment CupcakKe took the stage during Friday’s sold-out show at Cornerstone Craft Beer & Live Music, she pushed her breasts out of her open-front black top. “I’m having a wardrobe malfunction, but I showed y’all the titties already in case they popped out,” she said. It was a typical CupcakKe move.
Without missing a beat, a crowd that had grown tired of waiting for hours revitalized as cheers of, “We love you, CupcakKe,” swept across the room. It was the first of many times that night that her fans’ love for her erupted so lavishly — no matter what the rapper said or did, the reaction was much the same.
CupcakKe opened her set with “Vagina,” a song from her debut mixtape Cum Cake. It wasn’t long before her own voice got lost within a sea of voices rapping along diligently, not missing a single word.
The key to understanding the appeal of a CupcakKe show is knowing that no one goes just to be blown away by her spitting bars (although there’s no shortage of that). Instead, the reason fans show up to sold-out CupcakKe shows in droves is to see how she’s going to do justice to her outrageous, often hilarious lyrics in a live format.
As it turns out, she’s excellent at playing up the hilarity of her lyrics. From her over-the-top facial expressions to feeling herself up throughout her set, there’s no lengths CupcakKe won’t go to in order to make her fans scream.
CupcakKe strode across the stage smiling widely at the crowd as she went, rapping when she felt like it and leaving the work to her backing track when she wanted to put on a bolder show for her fans. During “Spider-Man Dick,” the rapper reached under her top to wipe sweat away from under her breasts and then stopped to suck her fingers as she rolled her eyes back. Every detail of her movement felt engineered to draw the loudest screams from her fans and yet also felt totally spontaneous.
But not all of her stage play was overtly sexual. CupcakKe is happy to connect with fans when she can instead of showing off for them. At several points throughout the night, she dipped into the crowd, plucked out a fan’s cellphone and took a selfie video of herself with the crowd as everyone pushed closer to her, hoping to be caught on camera with the rapper.
Other times, she turned to the audience to ask for requests. Even her dismissal of certain more far-fetched requests for deeper cuts from her discography was filled with a genuine warmth. When one fan requested that she perform “Lipgloss,” her collaboration with Charli XCX, she told them: “When I come back out here, I’m going to try to get Charli to come out here with me. … I don’t want to do ‘Lipgloss’ without Charli.”
Another cornerstone of CupcakKe’s performances is the space she builds for the queer community in her sets. As the the opening chords of “Lgbt” rang from the speakers, the crowd began jumping furiously in response. Later, she introduced “Crayons” by telling the audience that she wanted to “do something for the LGBT community.” Echoes of, “Boy on boy, girl on girl,” resounded throughout the venue as hundreds of fans joined CupcakKe for the chorus.
While it’s far from uncommon for pop stars to make appeals to the queer community during their shows, it certainly is quite rare for these appeals to feel as genuinely full of love and acceptance as CupcakKe’s did. The line, “Transgenders are people / So I’ma treat ‘em equal,” would be all too easy to fumble live and make a corny mess out of, and yet CupcakKe rapped it with such fierce authority that it felt like a fresh affirmation.
Surprising no one, CupcakKe ended the main portion of her set with “Deepthroat,” the song her fans had been begging to hear all night. The rapper pulled out all the stops here, pulling out her breasts once again as well as mimicking deepthroating the microphone. By the time the song ended and CupcakKe promised an encore, it was hard to imagine that she would be able to top a performance like that.
Still, CupcakKe rallied on through “Spoiled Milk Titties” and “Juicy Coochie,” both requested by fans. CupcakKe had promised her fans a sexual set, and she more than delivered.