On Monday, Sept. 23, hours before she was scheduled to perform at a club in Orlando, Fla., the rapper CupcakKe announced to fans that she is retiring from music in a tearful Instagram live video. Her announcement came just eight days after her performance on the University campus, where she headlined Fall Lawnparties, organized by the Undergraduate Student Government.
Born Elizabeth Eden Harris, CupcakKe is best known for the unabashed and sexually explicit nature of her lyrics and persona, both on stage and off, with some of her most famous songs including “Deepthroat,” “Whoregasm,” and “Old Town Hoe,” a parody of Lil Nas X’s hit, “Old Town Road.”
In her live video, in which she sits in her Orlando hotel room and wears a bed sheet, CupcakKe explained that she was prompted to “quit music” when she saw a video of a 13-year-old girl dancing to one of her particularly explicit tracks.
“I have all-age shows, meaning people come to the events that's all-ages,” she said, crying. “Ten, 11 years old, whatever, and I feel as though I'm corrupting them with my songs. And I don't want to do it no more."
CupcakKe then announced that she is cancelling the rest of her “$10K Tour,” which was to include 23 cities. Since her performance at the University, CupcakKe has performed live only twice, first in Norfolk, Va., and then in Columbia, S.C. She also intends to remove her music from streaming platforms.
The announcement from the rapper elicited diverse responses from the student body.
USG Social Chair Heavyn Jennings ’20, who led the organizational effort for Lawnparties, said CupcakKe’s retirement came as a “big surprise” to her.
“It's interesting that she thinks she’s corrupting the youth, but many people have made the argument that male artists talk about the same things, and nobody is upset,” Jennings said. “Along that same line, I feel like while the music is explicit, it also is kind of empowering.”
Anika Khakoo ’22, a fan of the artist’s music, said, “It’s sad because her music is very funny, but at the same time I get it because I wouldn’t really want my little sister listening to it.”
Other students believed that CupcakKe’s music is indeed harmful and agreed with the artist’s decision to take it down.
“Over CA, my frosh introduced me to her and her song ‘Deepthroat,’ and it was a slightly traumatizing experience. Less so that a song like that exists, but more so that some of my frosh actually enjoyed it,” said Esther Levy ’22.