Cupcakke Credit: Shaun Andru

Thank goodness for Elizabeth Harris, who under the name Cupcakke gleefully throws a wrench in the gears of hip-hop. For a couple years now the Greater Grand Crossing MC has challenged what we’ve come to accept as the norm for female rappers, Chicago rappers, and female Chicago rappers, with raunchy songs and wry rhymes that hit hard. Cupcakke has become a sharper writer since dropping her breakout viral hit, “Vagina,” in October 2015, and in the process she’s accumulated a sizable fan base while doubling down on her freaky pop persona. Anyone confused at what that might be just needs to check out her all-caps Twitter bio: “GOING TO SUCK 2017 DICKS IN 2017.” Cupcakke also has no problem pushing back against whatever expectations people have based on her sexually explicit material. On “Reality, Pt. 4,” from March’s self-released Queen Elizabitch, she applies the same kind of insightful, nuanced wordplay found in her raunchiest raps to her harsh childhood struggles with poverty, neglect, and malnourishment, and her a cappella performance only serves to magnify the intensity: “I kept chewing on Doublemint bubble gum / Leftovers in my stomach, more like pieces of crumbs.”   v