When Cardi B unveiled her pregnancy live on SNL a week after debuting her album Invasion of Privacy, she was immediately met with the same critique as our pregnant prime minister Jacinda Ardern. How could a woman possibly be in a position of such power and simultaneously be bearing a child?
Upon the revealing Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B proves that you can be a woman who has her cake and eats it too. Being simultaneously pregnant and at the height of her career is a testament to how embarking on motherhood does not decrease the value of a woman, nor does it reason her less of her own person. With so much anticipation placed on her debut record since lead single ‘Bodak Yellow’ broke Billboards number one record (unachieved by a female since Lauryn Hill in 1997), Cardi has seemed to fall into the throat of the game accidentally; changing the female rap force without even realising her own impact.
Despite all of her success, Cardi’s unchanged, no-filter Bronx girl attitude is a big part of what makes her so likeable. Living out the all-American dream, Cardi took her misfortune and finessed it into her favour – resonating with females everywhere who are living out the same struggle. Intro track ‘Get Up 10’ chronicles Cardi’s unlikely journey to the top (“they gave a bitch two options, stripping or lose, used to dance in the club right across from my school”). Without any trace of sugar coating she illustrates her hustle with hood poise, paying special attention to the gritty details that gave her no choice but to become heartless and invincible.
Whether she’s coming for an ex’s blood (‘Be Careful’) or penning inescapable rhymes about the ice she’s earned (‘Drip Drip’), Cardi’s underlying message is always for the ladies – setting the example that if she can succeed, then you can damn sure do it too. Trappy SZA feature ‘I do’ is full of carefree, unapologetic flexes (“my little 15 minutes lasted long as hell, huh”), serving subtle amounts of shade to their spectics. Standout track ‘Bickenhead’ is a money-making, booty shaking anthem, motivating women to get their coin at all costs and live their best life.
The ultimate difference between Cardi B and other current female rappers is that Cardi isn’t phased by competition, petty beef or trivial labels. On Invasion of Privacy and everything else she touches, she’s extremely aware that there’s room for more than just one queen of rap in an industry that continues to pit strong women against one another. Cardi B is a win for female rap, and even more a win for womenkind.
Words: Laura McInnes