CupcakKe Is the Coolest Rapper in Chicago
Photos by Melissa Ann Pinney.
This past August, Chicago's coolest rapper made her Lollapalooza debut, joining her best friend and transatlantic kindred spirit Charli XCX for a show-stealing duet; returned from headlining a show at NYC's Le Poisson Rouge, the first stop on her Queen Elizabitch tour; and signed the lease on her own place. She'll drop another special project at the end of the year. These are striking accomplishments for any artist, and ones that 20-year-old Elizabeth Harris—better known as her fearless, freaky alter ego, CupcakKe—hadn't imagined when she transitioned from writing poetry to raps. When I met her for lunch late that month at Kuma's, a metal-head burger bar in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood, I wasn't sure how many patrons would know, or at least sense, that this was a woman fresh off numerous milestone achievements, who is considered one of the top-five hottest female rappers in America. But even if the crowd of Black Sabbath–listening burger-eaters didn't exactly recognize her—with her cloud of burgundy curls matched to her red silk jumpsuit—it was unspoken and understood: This is somebody.
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