REVIEW | BIG CAKES (@bigCAKES) ‘NO EXCUSES’

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2017 saw the release of a sub­stan­tial amount of good hip-hop, both in The UK and across The Atlantic. As I ana­lysed some UK based DJ’s top albums of the year lists, I couldn’t help but notice that vet­er­an emcee Big Cakes’ latest album ‘No Excuses’ was miss­ing from most. Gran­ted the album was delivered very late on in the year, but there was still more than enough time for the pro­ject to slot into the list of favour­ites. Not for the sake of it. Not because Big Cakes’ name rings bells across the UK hip-hop com­munity, but because it really does deserve to be included.

The truly seasoned Big Cakes has offered listen­ers his 7th stu­dio album, hot on the heels of his 2016 “No Expiry” pro­ject.  This gen­er­os­ity to his fans is an under­state­ment as he shows no signs of slow­ing down lyr­ic­ally. The album begins with the Mic­all Parkn­sun pro­duced “The Word.” That’s right. The word. Hip-hops for­got­ten ele­ment amid­st a flood of inaud­ible prose from rap­pers. Word­play is the main dish on this menu as Cakes flows through with bib­lic­al ref­er­ences wrapped up with witty exuber­ance at a steady double time pace. “It said the word came first I kill em bib­lic­ally.” I’m in agree­ment with this, espe­cially seen as the word should be the most import­ant aspect of the hip-hop bib­le.

“Dots (Don of the Strip),” pro­duced by Oliv­er Sud­den, feels like a strong sum­mer track released in win­ter. I want to wind down my car win­dow and bump this loud but it’s too cold at the moment. How­ever, as with many Big Cakes’ songs, they sur­vive the sea­sons so I’m able to bide my time with that one. The sur­viv­al and longev­ity of an artist boils down to ori­gin­al­ity. Cakes has been pump­ing out pro­duct for a long time and up until now he still sounds like no oth­er and no oth­er can sound like him. We can’t deny that every rap­per has their influ­ences, someone who came before them, but these influ­ences should be moul­ded into a style of their own, not simply copy­ing to pas­te in a sep­ar­ate browser. On the Vali­ant pro­duced “Duplic­ates” Cakes explains that he “still rep­res­ents the real authen­tic / raw hip-hop ink flows through my pen tip,” and goes on to sug­gest “cer­tain rap­pers ain’t real under obser­va­tion.” In an age where rap­pers are will­ing to sac­ri­fice their whole art and craft for fast money by recyc­ling the same sounds and per­sonas, Cakes would rather express his lyr­ic­al and per­son­al growth, ana­lys­ing where he came from to where he has got to. With help from the effort­less Don Jaga, with this tune we wit­ness a real matur­ity in the rhymes. While high­light­ing con­tinu­al flaws of oth­er rap­pers, without sound­ing preachy, Cakes expresses how he’s noth­ing spe­cial him­self and pro­ceeds with an open mind.

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On “Money May­weather (Shina Peters)” Big Cakes reminds us how raw and verbally unhinged he can be, which is staple to his for­mu­la and style with fierce energy and aggress­ive punch­lines. If the track was a foot­ball pitch, Big Cakes would be sla­lo­m­ing over the turf in an unplay­able fash­ion. Another ele­ment to the Big Cakes for­mu­la is his storytelling abil­it­ies and descrip­tions of life from street level. “E’s Up,” pro­duced by Syaman, is a mov­ing ded­ic­a­tion to loved ones that Cakes has lost along the way. It’s also a break­down of the struggles people face along life’s jour­ney and try­ing to sur­vive in a cold world. This song is for any­one who can relate to struggle and pain as he raps “give thanks cause we don’t know how blessed we are.” He then exclaims that “the gift is the present.” So, without dwell­ing on the past, let’s unwrap all the gifts we’ve been given right now.

Cakes’ voice is unique and deliv­ery always sharp. The Mor­fi­us pro­duced “The Good S**t” brings the best out of a laid back yet ener­get­ic and always con­fid­ent Cakes. Here is an artist who can get you out of your seat, wide eyed and alert for a tune which is in your face, then sit you back down again to zone out and relax to a more mel­low vibe.

Big Cakes once said if you’re not con­scious then you’re uncon­scious. His assert­ive­ness with this state­ment is evid­ent all over his tracks, whatever the sub­ject mat­ter is. On Parknsun’s “Toast” beat, he main­tains his con­scious­ness with a straight talk­ing, to the point bru­tal­ity which is key to his verses. “Look up there’s chemtrails in the sky / under­stand that glob­al warm­ing is a lie.” Always edu­cat­ing the listen­er, Cakes’ desire to make people more aware of issues that affect us is clear, urging us to “under­stand there’s less money in the cure / profits from the treat­ment is more.” Hip-hop was born out of con­scious­ness and Big Cakes has made it his mis­sion state­ment. Releas­ing pro­ject after pro­ject for more than 10 years, there’s evid­ence of being grown up yet youth­fully raw at the same time as he still offers middle fin­gers to cor­rupt sys­tems and gov­ern­ments which con­tin­ue to oppress, lie and dic­tate how people should be fol­low­ers instead of indi­vidu­als. The plan­et is filled with rap­pers. They are lit­er­ally every­where. Most come and go. Only a few though, can still be this pas­sion­ate, hungry and hugely ded­ic­ated to an art­form that refuses to die. Let’s digest this album and eagerly anti­cip­ate the next because Big Cakes will not stop the oven from bak­ing.

 

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Andrew Imagery Forrester

Andrew Imagery Forrester

Andrew ‘Imagery’ For­res­t­er is a Teach­er, Writer and Rap­per from Lon­don. Wheth­er he’s writ­ing rhymes or writ­ing art­icles, it’s all in the name of the art and the craft. Here to rep­res­ent the real­ness as always.
Andrew Imagery Forrester

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About Andrew Imagery Forrester

Andrew Imagery Forrester
Andrew ‘Imagery’ Forrester is a Teacher, Writer and Rapper from London. Whether he’s writing rhymes or writing articles, it’s all in the name of the art and the craft. Here to represent the realness as always.