da killa cakes understands the importance of a break. promoting his new album svengali and maintaining his online presence are two full-time jobs, but the New Jersey artist knows there’s more to life than music and social media. That’s why he explores his interpersonal relationships, as well as his relationship to his career, throughout his third collection of hip-house tunes, a tempo game filled with dramatic sonic and thematic twists.
As her career continues, Cakes is also aware of how quickly things evolve and the need to keep up with the pulse of the people. In our Q&A session, he discusses the power of Black Twitter, the dual reality of svengaliand his affinity for Busta Rhymes.
In svengaliWas “W4TN” inspired by the Rampage song “Wild for da Night” with Busta Rhymes? If so, what about that song that resonated with you?
Of course yes. I definitely always loved the song, being a huge Busta Rhymes fan and fan of that era in music. What inspired me to flip it was that a producer had edited it out. He revved it up and went crazy in the club. I felt like, “Oh, this would be really, really cool,” because the original was so slow.
In the title track, you talk about someone “touching me, but are you feeling me?” As we interact, we try to find out people’s motives and intentions. Why was it something you wanted to explore in “Svengali”?
The whole album is about a break up, or just a relationship. I don’t know if you’re single, but it’s hard here for a pimp, basically…
“The whole album is about love and the maneuvers of a twenty-something. But like the other side of that, it’s a metaphor for music, because I feel like a lot of times with my career it was almost going to break me, but it didn’t really happen.”
So you’re out of the game? It’s okay. I’m trying to be at your level. Basically, the entire album is about love and the maneuvering of a twenty-something. But like the other side of that, it’s a metaphor for music, because I feel like a lot of times with my career it was almost going to break, but it didn’t really happen. So it’s a game of that. It’s about a lover, but it’s also about fans and just music in general.
How do you find that looking for success or what you’re trying to get out of music is similar to looking for a relationship?
The root of it all is that I love both. Even in a relationship now, my career comes first because that’s like my baby. They kind of have parallels. It just sucks because one definitely [has to come] first.
When did you decide that this was going to be your case?
I don’t think it decided it, I think it was decided for me. The career I fell into was very demanding and takes up all your time, especially since social media is a marketing tool. People want to know everything: what toothpaste I use. am i vegan Who am I fucking? It becomes a 24/7 operation.
Knowing all of that, how do you decide when and how to turn it off and go off the grid for a minute?
It’s definitely a balance. I have my moments where I shut that down or focus on other things. But I also realize that I am a workaholic. I may not be writing a song, but I’ll be working on a short film or doing something more creative. So for me, I have to be doing something. It’s just that music can sometimes be a bit toxic.
In what ways?
Have you been on Black Twitter? [Laughs.] That goes without saying. I mean, how much time do we have?
“I think Twitter and social media in general dictate what happens in music… I feel like the voices on social media now dictate what’s right and what’s wrong.”
However, that is not the music. that’s people talking on music.
I think Black Twitter is the music, to be honest. Because I think Twitter and social media in general dictate what happens in music. I was just thinking about this the other day. There were so many gatekeepers when I started making music who had so much to say about the purity or the sanctity of hip-hop that I feel like they’re so quiet now when you see a lot of these hip-hop stars rise to fame that I feel like I don’t respect or I have no passion for the art form. I think that’s just because you have Twitter. I feel like the voices on social media are now dictating what is right and wrong.
It’s always intrigued me why these people feel like they have all this power, which, for one thing, they don’t, but ultimately, they do.
It is the consumer. Without them, we would be none of us. I think they are finally waking up to the fact that since they are the ones actually pumping money into the system, their opinion really matters. It’s not like when I was a kid in the ’90s, where you had to wait once a month to get a magazine, or you had to wait to watch a music video to see what was going on. Now these things are happening in real time. Watch Twitter making movies shut down when photos leak from set. People are taking their power as humans and using it for good and bad.
I wonder about the benefit of gatekeepers in that they kept a lot of lower caliber artists out of business in a way that we don’t have now because there were limited opportunities. So he’s like the lesser of two evils I guess.
True, but that’s most things in life. There can be two truths happening at the same time. I can’t really shit too much on social media and the platforms that are available now because if those platforms weren’t available, I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you right now. On the other hand, it is now so accessible that it becomes more difficult to be known. Thank God I started making music when the door was barely opening, but now the shit is completely off the hinges.
I think it’s important for people to be able to have their own space and have their voices heard, because the guards were preventing a lot of people from [from having opportunities]. But now everyone is talking and it’s as if there were no people capable of establishing themselves, because the rotation time of the artists is every three weeks. Florida