Cardi B: The Next Princess of Rap
Can she overthrow Queen Nicki?
Since the release of her highly successful single "Bodak Yellow" in 2017, which topped the Billboard Hot 100, Cardi B has been on the radars of not only hip hop/rap audiences, but mainstream pop as well. She was known primarily for starring in the VH1 series Love & Hip Hop: New York. However, her personality and witty sense of humor made her stick out from the rest of her cast, making her thus far the most notable cast member to have come out of the music driven reality show. When many heard her first single, it was the first time since Nicki Minaj that we have seen a female rapper with such charisma and edge to backup the gritty production behind hard-hitting lyrics. Unlike Iggy Azalea, who came after Minaj in the hip hop game, Cardi B brings authenticity and originality that is completely different than Azalea. For the most part, Azalea appealed to a primarily white and pop audience, while Cardi B connects to a more broader crowd that consist of Blacks and Latinos, who are urban consumers of music. Although Cardi B receives praise from minority listeners, she also gets recognition from mainstream media. Being raised in the Bronx, she comes across as relatable and humbled when talking about her past as a stripper and how she had to struggle to get to where she is now, which is a major force in the music industry.
On April 6, 2018, her debut album Invasion of Privacy was released with features from Migos, Chance The Rapper, Kehlani and SZA to name a few. This album showcases Cardi B in a way that was not fully represented in her first couple of singles or collaborations. This debut album proves that she can hold her own in the male dominated world of hip hop. For example, on tracks such as "Be Careful" and "Thru Your Phone," a more honest and vulnerable side is shown with lyrical themes of infidelity and lack of trust. Her latin roots are also displayed on the song "I Like It," which features guest vocals from Bad Bunny and J Balvin. Her sexuality is expressed on a variety of tracks and is done in a bluntly matter that might come across as comical or even shocking to those who are not used to the risque lyrics that are rapped by female rappers, one being Lil' Kim, who she names as an inspiration. She is a modern day feminist of rap music and is taking control of her sexuality and is displaying it on her own terms.
Cardi B and Nicki Minaj are the same in the fact that both of them are killing it in the rap game, both are female rappers and are women of color. However, their styles of rap are far the same. Cardi B is tougher and harder in the sense of delivery and comes across as raw when heard by the listener. Minaj can also deliver a raw performance, but it is executed in a different way. Minaj's style can be more considered more girly and animated, while still being able to hold her own with her male counterparts. Meanwhile, Cardi B is more street and is believable when spitting a verse about the life in the streets. It does not come across as fake or inauthentic. She is playing the role of herself and Minaj is playing a different role on each and every verse that she touches.
The million dollar question is, will Cardi B overthrow Nicki Minaj? The answer is subjective and can vary depending on tastes. What I can say is that if Cardi B wants to have the staying power and longevity of Nicki Minaj, who has had nearly a decade of hits in her discography, she has to crossover and collaborate with more pop artist as well as artists in her genre, which was seen when she teamed up with Bruno Mars on the remix of his song "Finesse." There is room for both of these rap divas, but time will tell if Cardi B can replicate the success of Nicki Minaj.