GRL GVNG: CARDI B

“Is she a stripper, a rapper or a singer?”

“Who got this motherfucker started? CARDI”

This line from her single “Bartier Cardi” is the realest shit out there right now. Because she really got this started on her own, by Cardi for Cardi’s bank account and our ears. We know “Cardi B” not from a feature, not endorsed by any particular mainstream male-rapper (because that’s still the key in the hip hop scene). The world is conscious about Cardi because she climbed up there on her own. Bodak Yellow is the most solid proof on her CV of what she has achieved with one single track. One single, no album out, no feature: just the Bronx rapper spitting bars about how she fixed her teeth and payed her mama’s bills. Real shit.

Honestly, don’t give a fuck
‘Bout who ain’t fond of me
Dropped two mixtapes in six months
What bitch working as hard as me?

– Bodak Yellow

But her music alone is not all that makes Cardi B the rapper we know and cherish. She’s a modern urban preacher and actually cares about a lot more than just money. Belcalis Almanzar (yep, that’s her real name) is not all about that luxury stuff and expensive things you can afford once your bank account is pumping. Her “I’m passionate about music but I’m also passionate about paying bills” philosophy sums it up pretty well: Cardi has other things to worry about than just her music. People are counting on her now that she achieved this state of planetary fame and recognition (which is paying off pretty well). Following the Bronx rapper on Instagram you’ll get to peek into the backstage of her life and it doesn’t take much to see how Cardi is dedicated to the well being of her family and friends. Her ascension in the music world makes Cardi act more humbly, never leaving her OGs unmentioned and constantly putting her hood on the map when she’s asked about her past in interviews.

Interview queen

“It’s either my personality or my farts, but I leave my signature.”

Interview for I-D Creators

Cardi does not only have heavy trap bangers, she got interviews moves too. If you’re having a bad and moody day, try one of these interviews below. Besides being outspoken about her career and her private life, Cardi B is also funny as hell. Don’t get distracted by her strong accent and her vocabulary, listen to her: that girl is preaching every time she’s opening up her mouth.  She’ll enlighten you with her knowledge collected through long years of hard work with a hilarious touch of humor and facial expressions.

“I’m my own competition, I’m competin’ with myself “

Here’s the thing about Cardi that personally, I profoundly respect. Like she has repeated several times in her interviews: Cardi B is not a dreamer, she’s realistic. Yes, she’s all about that money bag but if you listen carefully, there’s deeper meaning about that bag. Money means comfort and security. The rapper mentions it often on her Instagram videos : no one is taking care of the minorities and their privileges are quite close to none. If you want to get out of the hood, you have to get some money to afford it.

A bitch play with my money? Might as well spit in my food

– Get up 10 (Invasion of Privacy)

To make her ends meet while she was in college, Cardi started to work as a stripper. But the money was not moving just yet, some nights Cardi would come home with empty pockets. And that’s a pretty hard punch in the stomach especially when you’ve been working your ass off for more then eight hours a day. Also, she needed money to get out of that abusive relationship she was stuck in. On her last interview for Beats 1 with Ebron Daden she talked about asking her ex-boyfriend for 10,000 dollars to start a cleaning company. The offer got denied, there was no choice but keep working in the strip club until things get better.

And they got better. At the age of 21, Cardi B had put aside the sum of 20,000 dollars, gotten herself out of her ex-boyfriend’s apartment and had joined reality TV show “Love and Hip Hop”. Only then she started thinking about a career as a musician. “All my life I knew people that were making music but never got anywhere”, so Cardi was not into the idea of spending time doing music at all. To her the idea of it sounded like a waste of time and money. But once she got to finance her own projects, dropped two mixtapes and Bodak Yellow exploded worldwide: that’s when Cardi felt truly ready to emerge in the hip hop scene.

Had to talk to God, dropped down, and prayed for this
To my surprise, He replied, said, “You made for this”

– Best Life ft. Chance the Rapper

Invasion of Privacy: a new feminist manifesto

Here’s a snipped of what Pitchfork had to say about “I do”, the last track on Cardi B’s new album featuring the T.D.E sugargirl SZA:

“I Do,” with its decidedly empowered title, finds the duo defining themselves on their own terms. “I’m a gangsta in a dress/I’m a bully in the bed,” Cardi roars. “Only time that I’m a lady’s when I lay these hoes to rest.” For two artists deftly reshaping what it means to be a woman in hip-hop, these are words to live by.

– Megan Buerger for Pitchfork

This song is a true manifesto to the new “unladylike” wave that’s been leading the trends. We girls are conscious about ourselves, we don’t want anyone to tell us what we should wear, how we’re supposed to behave… Ssshh, we’re just doing our own thing, ok?

“I Do” is not only a badass female banger, but it has lines that takes us to another level of female power like these ones:

“Pussy so good, I say my own name during sex”

“I think us bad bitches is a gift from God”

“Look, broke hoes do what they can
Good girls do what they told 
Bad bitches do what they want 
That’s why a bitch is so cold”

The tracks “Be Careful” and “Thru your phone” on her new album allow you to shed a tear or two, but “I do” quickly brings you back the only thing that truly matters: yourself and your self-love. And if you want to say your own name during sex because you love your pussy, then do it god damn it!

Another thing that Cardi B and her unapologetic manners teach us is that it doesn’t take academic diplomas and a perfect articulation to be a feminist. It’s as simple as she put it in her interview with I-d:

“Being a feminist is real simple; it’s that a woman can do things the same as a man. I can finesse. I can hustle. We have the same freedom. I was in top of the charts. I’m a woman and I did that.”

“Invasion of Privacy” sounds like hard work and dedication and Cardi B herself is making history while you’re reading this. Our generation is blessed to embrace a whole gang of unladylike and powerful female artists ready to push the limits, embracing the best and the worst of what it means to be a woman these days. This album is an anthem to this overwhelming wave of feminine excellence. There’s hope Cardi B’s massive success and recognition might lead the hip hop industry to became less hostile to female artists. But that can take a lot, so might as well support them until it works. Because like Cardi proved, it CAN work.

Published by

Hanna Martins

student in her twenties with a lot of opinions

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