Illustrator: Claudia Dube

It’s always refreshing to see an artist as unapologetic and entertaining as cupcakKe. The Chicago rapper gained some popularity this year over her incredibly bold personality and sexual lyrics. On “Ephorize,” her third album, she doubles down on what made her popular in the first place, but also expands outward to make an album that is part sensitive and part hilarious, but still maintains cupcakKe’s signature sexual yet earnest approach to rap.

First things first, cupcakKe is nothing short of a fantastic MC. Admittedly, her flows tend to blend together at times, but when it comes to energy and even lyrical experience, she’s on top of it (in more ways than one, if you know what I mean). She continues with her super-sexual and sometimes brutal lyrics in “Duck Duck Goose” and “Navel,” but chooses to expand on more conscious material in “2 Minutes” and “Self Interview,” where she reflects on her life. “Crayons” is an LGBT anthem which promotes the sentiment “like who you like.” Then there are songs like “Cartoons” or “Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” where cupcakKe goes off. She exhibits some strong lyrical prowess and as always, heavy doses of humor in “Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” where she unabashedly says she came up with the idea for the chorus just because she was hungry. Her songs also shine when it comes to hard-hitting, epic production, such as on “Cartoons” or “Navel.”

“Ephorize” is an album that cements (or at least should cement) cupcakKe as a powerhouse female MC, even usurping a lot of the male MCs in mainstream hip-hop right now. Though many of her songs are tongue-in-cheek, cupcakKe’s talent for rapping is nothing to laugh about.