This week I’m listening to: Svengali by Cakes da Killa

Svangali is the new album by rapper Cakes da Killa.

Who is Cakes da Killa and what does he do? His website explains:

Cakes da Killa has been out here doing it for the clubs for the past decade, bringing hardbody raps together with ecstatic dance beats and bringing the inimitable, untouchable nightlife culture of New York City to the rest of the world. Over the course of his career, he’s created a body of work that’s lit up dance floors around the globe, working with a who’s who of club music icons both classic (Honey Dijon, DJ Deeon, Peaches) and contemporary (LSDXOXO, Eats Everything, Proper Villains). 

With his long-awaited second album, Svengali, Cakes adds another landmark to his catalog and brings the long-running relationship between hip-hop and house music into a new chapter. 

(Miles Raymer)

Here’s the album’s title track:

Pitchfork says:

Svengali feels like a milestone he’s been working toward for years—a smooth balance of anxiety and aggression, love and lust, confidence and vulnerability. Whether he’s pleading for love or manipulating it in the shadows, Cakes’s decisive presence ties it all together. He’s like a bandleader of the jazz era he reveres, putting on for the divas and icons of his time.

The Observer says:

Produced with immaculate beats by Sam Katz, Svengali pulses with nods to house and brushes of live instrumentation, making for a sweaty, decadent album. Bradshaw’s assured, slick delivery – sometimes a sultry whisper, elsewhere an elastic bounce – charts a relationship’s breathy highs and quaking lows (“This from me to you, a love letter on wax/Had to block you on the apps, now I’m venting on a track”).

A sleek, enticing record that certifies Cakes Da Killa’s place at the forefront of this sound.

Slant says:

Queer New York rapper Cakes da Killa, born Rashard Bradshaw, operates within a seemingly alternate timeline where hip-house wasn’t hastily replaced with gangsta rap and commercial hip-hop as rap’s primary modes in the 1990s. His singles “Shots Fired” and “Don Dada” are as aggressive they are danceable, barely containing their fury and propelled by sirens and metallic snares.

But even the most dance-oriented songs on Bradshaw’s second studio album, Svengali, are mellower than his past efforts, especially his two Muvaland EPs. The album also brings a new conceptual focus to his work. Carefully sequenced, with instrumentals and spoken-word interludes like “La Cocaina,” in which his cousin, Carolina, speaks in French about her own sexual misadventures, Svengali traces a personal narrative about growing weary of casual sex and embracing love, all in the span of just half an hour.

Discover the album for yourself, via the streaming link below:

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