In the current state of music, the way relevance is perceived can be misleading. Specifically in the age of clout over the last 5-10 years, artists can find themselves functioning as a meme or a social media challenge, rather than a musician, putting more value on virality than longevity. In a cluttered community full of ambitious and often super competitive creatives, becoming relevant and staying relevant in Hip-Hop is not easy, and it’s 100 times harder if you’re a woman. Women are often evaluated by everything but their talent, constantly attacked and berated for every single thing they do that the general public may not agree with. Excuses and double standards galore, Hip-Hop fans have consistently undervalued women, while celebrating the sometimes viciously misogynistic attitude that has always overshadowed Hip-Hop from a commercial perspective. However, in the past decade, women have begun to get the attention they deserve, and when they have, they have not disappointed. Going forward I know women will continue creating their own lanes and legacies, but Cardi B has set the bar to an astronomical height.
From her raunchy “Gangsta Bitch Music” mixtape series to movie screens, since Cardi B dropped “Bodak Yellow” in June of 2017, she’s gone on a run that has reaped unprecedented benefits including international radio smash hits, a #1 album, diamond plaques, major fashion partnerships, and awards, so many awards. Feats that wouldn’t just be “good for a woman in Hip-Hop” but rather accolades and milestones that any commercial artist works day in and day out to achieve. What many don’t understand is that off her first project with a major label “Invasion of Privacy,” she is the first woman and in some cases the first rapper in Hip-Hop to do many of these things. Cardi B has set the bar higher than it’s ever been from the moment she stepped onto the main stage. Smashing records and blazing trails, she solidified herself as one of the most authentic rappers in the game, constantly ignoring opinions about her, her life, and her career, with her music being a great reflection of that mindset.
For every genre in music, the songwriting process rarely includes one individual, especially on the mainstream level. But in Hip-Hop, the most competitive genre, there’s an intensely strong stigma amongst rappers from the 20th century on rap artists working with writers. Writers have been used in Hip-Hop since it began with artists like Kanye West, Drake and Dr. Dre documented working with ghostwriters and co-writers. However, their music legacies are clear of any blemishes, or asterisks. While Cardi has admitted to working with writers, one of which being Pardison Fontane, she clarified that she writes a lot of her lyrics, and generally only uses writers for hooks and choruses, which are key to a song’s replay value. Wannabe Hip-Hop purists on social media need to get over her collaborating with writers because it’s a decision that has made her an international sensation. It’s an artist’s job to put forth the best artistic offering to the public for fans to enjoy, which is what Cardi B has done and that’s what matters.
In these last few years, with one album in addition to a few monumental singles Cardi B has already racked up a career’s worth of accolades, the whole time staying true to herself, as well as her New York City roots and Latin heritage. Between her elevation of Latin Trap, her strides for women in Hip-Hop, and going out of her way to lend her platform to Bernie Sanders throughout his presidential campaign, Cardi B is setting a new precedent for Hip-Hop regardless of gender. All the Cardi B critics need to get used to her face because Cardi B is solidifying herself as more than just one of the biggest rappers in Hip-Hop, she’s solidifying herself as one of the biggest brands in music.