top of page

Unpacking Cardi B's Influence And Impact On Female Rap: Are We Handing Out Flowers or Weeds?


Honestly, Cardi B, I don't know what you are saying. But, since this is not the first time she has expressed a premature concern about her influence on other girls and female rap, let's discuss.    First, I will not sit here and tell you that Cardi B's influence is non-existent or that she has not opened doors within female rap; however, there needs to be some context with such high praise because, without context, some can falsely believe Cardi B deserves flowers she has not grown and credit she has not earned.


Earlier this month, Cardi B marked the 5th anniversary of her debut album "Invasion of Privacy" with a Q&A session with fans on Stationhead. Despite spending most of the past five years being a "mommiana," dealing with Offset cheating rumors and criminal charges, and promoting her line of Whip Shots, Cardi B boldly proclaimed that even in her absence, her "greatness" is still being felt through the girls who came after her:


"Every other day, people try to deny my greatness, which you know what I am saying people try to deny my influence. People try to deny the doors that I have opened. But, I don't give a fck what they try to deny because, at the end of the day, my influence is on these bitches; you know what I am saying? My influence is on these bitches videos, on these bitches fashions, on these bitches aesthetics, on the way these bitches talk, on these bitches characters! You know what I am saying?"

Honestly, Cardi B, I don't know what you are saying. But, since this is not the first time she has expressed a premature concern about her influence on other girls and female rap, let's discuss.

First, I will not sit here and tell you that Cardi B's influence is non-existent or that she has not opened doors within female rap; however, there needs to be some context with such high praise because, without context, some can falsely believe Cardi B deserves flowers she has not grown and credit she has not earned.

 


 

Cardi B's Influence and Impact: The rise of cults of personalities in 2017, centered around Trump's inauguration, DJ Akademiks' debut on Everyday Struggle, and Cardi B's emergence with "Bodak Yellow," was a defining moment in pop culture. These three individuals wielded enormous influence over their respective fields, shaping the landscape and dominating headlines.  The year personality trumped everything!  However, the funny thing about influence is that it is not always positive, and the question of whether Cardi B's impact on female rap has been positive or negative is worth a discussion.    For me, Cardi B's influence on female rap has nothing to do with what the girls are wearing, their music videos, or their performances; but has everything to do with changing the landscape in which the girls must now compete. So, when I think of Cardi B's impact, I think of two things: "New media"   Redefining the word "FLOP"

INFLUENCE & IMPACT

The rise of cults of personalities in 2017, centered around Trump's inauguration, DJ Akademiks' debut on Everyday Struggle, and Cardi B's emergence with "Bodak Yellow," was a defining moment in pop culture. These three individuals wielded enormous influence over their respective fields, shaping the landscape and dominating headlines.


The year personality trumped everything!


However, the funny thing about influence is that it is not always positive, and the question of whether Cardi B's impact on female rap has been positive or negative is worth a discussion.

For me, Cardi B's influence on female rap has nothing to do with what the girls are wearing, their music videos, or their performances; but has everything to do with changing the landscape in which the girls must now compete. So, when I think of Cardi B's impact, I think of two things:

  1. "New media"

  2. Redefining the word "FLOP"

NEW MEDIA

It is no secret that Nicki Minaj lost her war with Cardi B because she failed to recognize that the landscape on which rap beefs would be played had changed. In the past, it was about who had the best rhymes, but Cardi B ushered in a new era where it became about who had the best headlines and social media presence. Instead of battling it out over beats, girls were expected to wage war in the comment sections of blogs and social media.


Cardi B, a former influencer, not only leveraged her social media savvy to make a name for herself in the world of female rap but also adopted tactics commonly used by social media influencers to manipulate public opinion. This included allegedly working with drama channels and pages to spin positive stories about herself and negative ones about her competitors.


 

"Cardi B identified this shift early and capitalized off it by recognizing the value of cultivating relationships with 100 small bloggers, who desperately want celebrity access, over a few big blogs who have relationships with 100 other celebs. This was a major key to her success" - Excerpt from Cardi B Wins $3.8 Million In Federal Libel Suit Against Gossip Blogger Tasha K - Culture Shift?

 

Cardi B's relationship with YouTubers and "female rap" pages has been widely documented, and it's not uncommon to see these bloggers and reporters partying with Bardi or backstage at concerts. Cardi follows many of these social media accounts, and some even claim that she has paid medical bills or provided them with other forms of support.


While this may seem like evidence of Cardi's generosity and willingness to support up-and-coming content creators, it's also worth noting that many of these bloggers are responsible for spreading some of the nastiest rumors and gossip about other female rappers. Yet, despite this, they don't seem to fear losing

access to Cardi B by engaging in this kind of reporting on her peers; in fact, there are whispers this is how they get on her guest lists.


Riddle Me This: Would any other female rapper be able to maintain a relationship with bloggers who constantly spread rumors and negativity about Cardi B without being labeled an "opp?"

Cardi B ignited this BOOM of fake female rap channels and blogs pushing negative stories about female rappers in hopes of gaining access to parties, concerts, and freebies. In fact, some bloggers act like they are owed something if they report the truth or a positive story. This has created a toxic environment where half of the female rappers claim they have anxiety and no longer find joy in interacting with fans online because they know these blogs are just waiting to turn noTHING into someTHING. While it is true that major Hip Hop platforms have also contributed to this trend, Cardi B's use of "new media" empowered a bunch of kitchen-table reporters who have no code of ethics and a whole lot of time to feel it was OK to make it a hunting season for female rappers. These YouTubers and bloggers have now resorted to involving themselves in a criminal court case, attempting to influence the verdict because it involves a female rapper they do not like. This behavior is not seen in incidents that solely involve male rappers, highlighting an overall lack of respect and decency towards a genre made up of mostly Black women.


I guess the only shining light in all this mess is that it's hard to create a market for hating on female rappers without also creating a market that hates you. We do not need to look further than Cardi B's lawsuit against YouTuber Tasha K.


 


 

FLOP

Before Cardi B, I had never seen so many successful female rappers being called FLOPS. Top 40, 30, 20, and even 10 artists being called flops all because Cardi B obtained five #1s. When Cardi B started charting higher than Nicki Minaj, "new media" and Hip Hop platforms began pushing the narrative that fans should only care about who is number one on the Hot 100 charts while downplaying Hip Hop staples like freestyles and writing rhymes. We all remember the talking points of "Freestyles are for old heads" and "Who cares who writes? It's about hits." This was all done to give Cardi B an advantage by placing more importance on what Cardi B was good at - charting and belittling what she did not excel in - freestyling

and writing.





This was all gamesmanship in Cardi B's feud with Nicki Minaj, and if it had stayed between those two, then OK. However, it did not and became an unrealistic standard that all the girls were expected to uphold, and now they can't even enjoy their top 40 hits without a "new media" asshole calling them a FLOP!


The pursuit of a #1 should not be toxic. While it's true that women in Hip-Hop have always had an ego-driven desire to be at the top, there is a difference between wanting to be number one and fear of being unfairly labeled a "flop" for being a top 20 artist. This pressure to achieve chart success at all costs is why Cardi B has not released an album in five years, as she is now being held hostage by her own success and fearful of being labeled a "flop" if she fails to top the charts again.


Those five number ones she and her fans love bragging about are now bars on her self-made birdcage, trapping her due to the #1 or bust mentality she brought into female rap...Okurrrr.


 

When Cardi B claims she opened doors for female rappers, she's not wrong, but she also closed doors or, at the very least, made it harder for rap girls like Megan.  Cardi B helped usher in this shift towards social media followers over artist development. As a result, labels began prioritizing artists with a built-in audience, hoping they could convert that audience into music fans. This preference for girls with a certain number of social media followers is why artists like Bhad Bhabie were signed, while girls like Megan Thee Stallion were overlooked.


OPENING DOORS

In 2017, Cardi B released her breakout song, "Bodak Yellow," which propelled her to become the rap industry's darling, breaking records.


Fast forward to 2018, when Hip Hop legend Q-Tip set up meetings with two major labels, Columbia and Def Jam, hoping to secure a record deal for a Houston rapper. Despite having a co-sign from a rap legend, both labels rejected this rapper because she didn't have enough social media followers. It's worth noting that the rapper in question was Megan Thee Stallion.



When Cardi B claims she opened doors for female rappers, she's not wrong, but she also closed doors or, at the very least, made it harder for rap girls like Megan.


Cardi B helped usher in this shift towards social media followers over artist development. As a result, labels began prioritizing artists with a built-in audience, hoping they could convert that audience into music fans. This preference for girls with a certain number of social media followers is why artists like Bhad Bhabie were signed, while girls like Megan Thee Stallion were overlooked.


 

"For me, Cardi B's influence on female rap has nothing to do with what the girls are wearing, their music videos, or their performances; but has everything to do with changing the landscape in which the girls must now compete."

 

However, Megan Thee Stallion's success reopened doors for female rappers who prioritize their craft and lyrical ability over their social media following. She proved to labels there was still a demand for female rappers who did freestyles and pushed their pens. While Cardi B made it popular for girls to go viral on

blogs, Megan made it popular for them to go viral with their freestyles. Even media personalities that once dismissed freestyling as outdated had to backtrack on their "hot take."


Megan Thee Stallion balanced out the potential impact Cardi B could have had on female rap by ensuring we weren't only stuck with studio rappers who relied on creative marketing. Although Cardi B achieved tremendous success, she couldn't open doors for a rapper like Megan because there's no rhyme or reason for labels to think that a Black girl killing freestyles at a radio station would be successful just because Cardi B was.


So, when people say that Cardi B opened doors for female rappers, it's crucial to be clear on what type of female rapper she opened doors for and not haphazardly credit her with the success of every girl who came after her and doing things she does not do.

 

AESTHETICS & TALK

Cardi B is poorly cosplaying as a Black woman...nuff said.

 

Cardi B may be looking for her flowers, but honey, I can only offer her a bouquet of weeds. Or maybe I can scrounge up some dead flowers from somewhere because when I think about everything that annoys me about female rap, it all leads back to her cosplaying ass. She does not represent the best of the genre for me. The female rappers who truly excite me and put a smile on my face are the ones who didn't need her to open any doors for them. So come get your weeds, Cardi B!

WEEDS

Cardi B may be looking for her flowers, but honey, I can only offer her a bouquet of weeds. Or maybe I can scrounge up some dead flowers from somewhere because when I think about everything that annoys me about female rap, it all leads back to her cosplaying ass. Her influence and impact on female rap have not been positive. She does not represent the best of the genre to me. The female rappers who truly excite me and put a smile on my face are the ones who didn't need her to open any doors for them. So come get your weeds, Cardi B!

 

Speak, Heart, Share...Thanks!

421 views3 comments

3 Comments


Megan has been so shitted on by the industry and if we really take a step back and look at the girls who've pushed Rap forward the last 5-6 years MEGAN and arguably the City girls need to come up more the conversation.

Like

Tiffany
Tiffany
May 01, 2023

Megan def made it cool for girls to rap again. before her, new girls was on some “I strap flows…some of y’all need writers” type bs. Megan even had Cardi finally drop a freestyle fall 2019 ☕️


Like
Replying to

!!!!! Megan DEFINITELY made the girls wanna rap

Like
bottom of page