ABOVE: CAKES DA KILLA. PHOTO COURTESY OF DREW GURIAN/RED BULL CONTENT POOL
There’s a late ‘80s glamour to Cakes da Killa‘s newest video, “Truth Tella.” Shot in black and white, Cakes first appears framed in a “Printemps-Été” look book. The camera zooms in on the New Jersey rapper’s silhouette—his smooth, bare shoulders, and the back of his head covered in a Audrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady floral hat. The beat is enthralling and a little menacing. Cakes turns around slowly as he begins to rap, relentlessly fierce and confident.
The theme is high fashion at is most unabashedly commanding: an oversaturated, ballroom elegance, even in black and white. “We wanted a super elegant, Dior and Calvin Klein-esque visual to contrast the song,” explains Cakes. “We also wanted something that was simple, timeless and compelling.” Throughout the video, Cakes strikes poses in an array of Philip Treacy-inspired hats from Harlem’s Heaven Hat Boutique. As he reaches the songs climatic chorus, he faces the camera and starts to unveil himself from beneath a hooded fur coat. The slow motion is intercut with flashes of Cakes in rapid movement, his face blurred. He’s not a man you want to fuck with.
Directed by Sef “Minister Atkins,” “Truth Tella” is the first video from Cakes’ second mixtape Hunger Pangs, which comes out next week. “If it had to have a narrative, it would be about the conflicted pastor’s son who just happens to be a gay icon,” says Cakes. “Originally for the song I wanted to have a typical party type rap video, but when I thought about the most respected truth tellers that impact lives, I gravitated towards pastors delivering sermons,” he continues. “Sef is an amazing director with church boy roots who uses a lot of religious themes. Together we wanted to play that up by paying homage to Baptist church fashions.”