The London based rapper is putting her stamp on the genre while introducing us to her world of fun and feistiness.
Some of the most thrilling rap music this year comes courtesy of East London-based artist Paigey Cakey. So named thanks to a mix of her real name, Paige, and local slang that stuck, the 20-year-old has a story for everything, which is a fitting introdution to her music. (“Cakey is slang around London, in Hackney, for money. When I was younger, everyone was like, ‘Paige Cakey always got the latest trainers’ as a running joke. Then when the song ‘Baby Cakes’ came out people kept calling me Paigey Cakes so I ran with it.”)
Paige has quietly been making waves as a rapper over the past few years, bubbling just below the surface. Now the East London resident is in possession of one of the most exciting voices in the genre, spitting confident rhymes and providing a narrative filled with charm and wit about the world around her. After a series of events that made me realise her musical talent, one of which was uploading a Teedra Moses cover that she had performed for her Music GCSE online which received over 10,000 views in a month. She went on to perform live, wrote songs in her room and create an online buzz that is yet to die down.
A multi-talented performer, if you haven’t heard her music yet it’s likely you may recognise her face. After being noticed as a stand-out talent after performing at a youth project in Hackney, she has since featured in films like the acclaimed British urban film Attack The Block and popular BBC drama Waterloo Road. In short, Paigey is the best person to be providing a narrative about the experience of growing up in London. She comments that, “Acting is a great but mad thing to have under my belt! It is a really fun thing to do…but music is where my heart is.”
Championed by the likes of Fearne Cotton after her song ‘Hood Swag’ was playlisted on BBC Radio 1, Paigey has toured Europe with fellow London rapper Lady Leshurr, performed at Hackney Weekender and been heralded as one of the UK’s hottest new talents on countless underground platforms. it’s safe to say that Paigey has achieved a lot for a 20-year-old.
Growing in Hackney from a Caribbean father and english mother (who she describes as “My biggest fan who knows all the words to my songs – even the slang!”) Paigey recognises the effect her environment had on her music. “Growing up in hackney with lots of culture and different kinds of people makes you want to be creative. I’m an only child so I was influenced by friends, my parents, what was happening on the streets around me…and I wrote about it.”
Paigey caught the rapping bug from across the Atlantic – rapping for as long as she can remember, she was inspired by the likes of Missy Elliot (“‘She’s A Bitch’ was my anthem!”) and Lauryn Hill before moving on to grime as she began to find her voice closer to home. She pays homage to UK grime talent as inspiring her to find her own voice in rap early on. “I was a grime fan throughout secondary school. I was obsessed with Channel U. In fact, I was obsessed with all the grime people. I used to love Wiley. They made me want to rap”.
Now, Paigey is concerned with therange of rich sounds in rap, after discovering the musical stylings of Floetry, Teedra Moses, and Mary J Blige, elements of which can be heard on her debut EP ‘The First Paige’ which sees her soulful vocal sung over the top of grime, pop and rap beats. Paigey’s confidence in her huge crossover potential makes sense, as the jubilant pop tropes lend themselves to the chart, and her enthusiasm translates on the record. When she promises that we’re yet to see big things from her, we suggest you take her word for it. “People haven’t seen it all from me – I can sing, I can freestyle I can work a crowd…I’m coming for everyone!|”
Paige started her creative life early on, listening to her parent’s records which included “A lot of garage and jungle.” She comments that, “This kind of gave me an ear for music that was fun to listen to in the clubs. I wanted to make songs tha make people dance. You know that moment when you hear a song that makes everyone go crazy? I want that to be mine.”
Her dedication to her female peers has always been important, and her debut EP ‘The First Paige’ saw collaborations with first lady on funky house Princess Nyah, and respected UK MC Lady Leshurr, and introduced her as an artist to be reckoned with. While she states that her most recent offering ‘The Next Paige’ is a more structured release that sees her as a grown up. “It has more grown up stories about what I’ve seen and my experiences. One of the tracks ‘Let Go’ is about love, and what that feels like…I’m making the point that rap isn’t all talking about haters and swag.”
Best illustrated with bars like, ‘Lactose intolerant/I don’t like cheese’ (Hood Swag) Paigey’s music has little tolerance for saccharine pop-crossover offerings. Her sound is a urban in every sense of the word – it sounds like the city, and with its charisma and humour by the tonne, it also sounds just like her.
Signing to Alwayz Recordings last month (the people behind Chipmunk, amongst others) a label infamous for breaking UK talent, it seems that Paigey is well on her way to chart success, with ‘Same Way’ being her first release since her signing. ‘Same Way’ is a bass-filled heavyweight rap track with influences of trap and a R&B vocal. “I’m talking about my crew, that we’re winning, that we’re holding it up. It’s just a happy song. Just telling everyone if someone don’t like you, don’t worry, just brush it off and do it the same way if you like.” As she sings about not giving a fuck about what ‘haters’ say, this is Paigey’s coming-of-age single, with elements of coarse rap with a thrillingly catchy hook. An artist than expertly marries the softness of a female vocal (best seen on her cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Swim Good’ last year) and hard edged beats, Paigey is giving listeners an education in what urban music sounds like in 2013.
Paigey’s music consistently packs a powerful lyrical punch, punctuated with moments of arch perception and hilarity. Her playfulness teamed with bouts of fiery attitude is a celebration of female power and identity, and the result is pop music that is bubbling with hich octane energy, contempporary rap refernce points and an impressive vocal energy. The thick, layered basslines, and a soulful injections of her debut EP and single owes its success to its playful relationship with the mainstream, joining the dots between Missy Elliot’s supersonic raps, Keri Hilson’s vocals and the gritty world of grime that inspired her.