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The Scarlet & Black

Cake kills it at Gardner

Cakes da Killa performs onstage at Gardner. Photo by Chris Lee.
Cakes da Killa performs onstage at Gardner. Photo by Chris Lee.

On Monday, Oct. 6, Cakes da Killa and MikeQ came to Gardner courtesy of SGA Concerts. Both of the acts hail from New York, and they brought Big Apple attitude to the basement of Main that night.

First up was MikeQ, who was playing vogue house music for days. If it were a weekend night, these kids would have been lit. Unfortunately, it was a Monday night, so the turnout was less than prolific, but there was still a thick crowd by the time MikeQ was dropping his beats around 10 p.m.

MikeQ took some of the pop fare common on the radio and party playlists, like Anaconda and Partition, and mixed them with vogue house beats. The result was a set that thrived on the rich musical tradition of the New York Ballroom scene.

Theatrical does not start to describe the madness that the night would bring, and MikeQ’s sets often lifted some of the most titillating samples from songs and spun them on repeat. Concertgoers were treated to a near-maddening repeat of “I’m a boss a** b*tch” and “I don’t need you seeing Yoncé on her knees” over spectacular house beats.

Sometime around 11 p.m., Cakes da Killa took the stage like a queen taking her throne. He was all attitude and playfulness onstage. In true diva tradition, before even starting his set, he dictated orders about how he wanted his lighting onstage. Afterwards, he addressed the crowd. “Hey y’all! I don’t even know where I am. I’m drunk. Ha, just playing! Let’s get it, Grinnell,” Cakes said.

Cakes continued to tease the crowd as every song he launched into was packed with braggadocio and dance moves. For a one-man show, Cakes owned the stage like he had an entire posse with him. Running through raps about his fierce-some wardrobe and sexcapades, Cakes’s Foxy Brown flow carried him easily through his entire set.

One highlight was one of Cakes’s most recent singles, “Run This Club,” in which he elicited the help of a strobe light for wow effect and introduced the crowd to the chorus before slaying the song onstage.

Amidst sweaty young 20-year-olds and MikeQ spinning, Cakes rapped, “Charms on my halo, charms on my bracelets, oh you getting cute, give a silly b*tch a facelift. I run this f*cking club, I run this f*cking club, f*cking club, f*ckin club,” as the crowd followed along.

Another highlight of the show was the single that put Cakes in the spotlight, the lightning-round rap, “Goodie Goodies.” Cakes delivered his devastating flow while strutting across the stage and giving face to the camera that was tracking his every move on the sideline.

At the moment in the song when he mentioned the oldie, “Touch Me Tease Me,” MikeQ actually interrupted to play the song as Cakes took a moment to feel himself on stage, rubbing and shimmying in hedonistic delight, and the crowd loved it. Cakes is the kind of personality that can pull a move like this without appearing egotistical, because the guy does it all in good fun.

The sizeable crowd there savored Cakes’s every bar, and played along with theatrics like Cakes falling on the crowd and shaking his butt while rapping. At one point, Cakes called upon two Grinnellians to have a dance contest on stage.

These moments are always historical, as Grinnellians are never one to turn down the chance to get down, and hip-hop acts especially have brought out the nastiest competitors. On stage, as MikeQ spun and Cakes peeped from the sidelines, two Grinnellians danced, crumped, vogued and twerked on stage for all they were worth.

At the end, Jermaine Stewart-Webb ’16 was declared the winner as Cakes exclaimed, “I did not know I released the Kraken on campus! I apologize! Here is your prize, a water bottle, love.”

This playfulness is what made the concert so live, especially when Cakes culminated his show with a runway cleared in the crowd for his last song. Alongside a thundering beat, Cakes brought the hammer down on the venue for the final song and stomped alongside his runway. A more formidable act on a weekday would be hard to find, and Cakes and MikeQ definitely brought their all that night.

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