Who’s had a better four years than Cardi B? From her string of colossal hits, marriage to Atlanta rapper Offset, and having a baby, Cardi B has certainly been busy for the last few years. On Thursday night, Cardi B released her new single ‘Up’. She teased it on social media for the past few days after posting the single artwork on February 2nd.

If It’s Up Then It’s Stuck

‘Up’ is what you’ve come to expect from Cardi B. It features lyrics about women jealous of her, her insurmountable wealth, and flexing her designer clothes. While we have all heard a Cardi song like this before, it still does everything right. It is a catchy song, and the production is perfect for Cardi’s style. It features production from frequent collaborator, DJ SwanQo and Yung Dza. It is a simple song, but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t completely drilled itself into my brain. Cardi B has a great sense of awareness when it comes to choosing what music to release. After the monumental ‘Bodak Yellow’, she released ‘Bartier Cardi’ with 21 Savage to success. A week before the album, she released ‘Be Careful’ and showed her fans her range. Each single she releases come at the perfect time as if she has a sixth sense for it.

Upon release, accusations began to surface that Cardi did not come up with the infectious hook. Rapper Mir Fontane accused her of stealing the hook to his song titled ‘Stuck’. Cardi B fired back by posting the date she originally said the hook to her new song. While her video is a day after the supposed release of ‘Stuck’, the phrase is so common in hip-hop that it is unlikely that she heard the song before making her own.

Cardi B’s Star Power

Cardi B became an overnight star after her hit song, ‘Bodak Yellow’. She made history as the second female rapper to ever reach number one on Billboard. After a string of successful releases, she backed away from the limelight. Hip-hop is a genre where exposure is a necessity, and fans can sometimes have short attention spans. People began to question if Cardi B’s success was a fluke and she would not be able to replicate it again. Then in August 2020, Cardi B released ‘WAP’. It is probably her biggest song to date and made her even more popular than she already was. 

What makes Cardi B such a magnetic artist is how authentic she is within the public eye. Many artists tend to manufacture what they want their fans to see, but she displays her accomplishments and failures. She had a very public feud with fellow rap superstar Nicki Minaj and never once backed down. She had her issues with her husband were aired out on social media, yet she stayed transparent. While she may be brash, loud, and can occasionally share a little too much, she is unapologetically herself. 

Cardi B’s Controversies 

Cardi B is no stranger to criticism. She has somewhat made a name for herself by being known for very explicit lyrics. In songs such as “Bickenhead”, “Thotiana Remix”, and most recently, “WAP”, Cardi B is not for the bashful. She has even received some criticism for how sexual her music is. Usually, when people complain about female artists rapping too promiscuously, they compare them to women who don’t rap about the same topics. Yet, they only uplift these women when trying to tear down another. This talking point is almost always deeply rooted in misogyny. Cardi has spoken about it multiple times and chooses to uplift those artists that her critics use as props to tear her down.

Leading a New Age of Hip-Hop

Hip-hop has had an issue for a long time. It is a predominantly male-driven genre where it can prove to be quite difficult for women to get to the heights that their male counterparts reach. For nearly ten years, Nicki Minaj was the only mainstream female rapper. Nicki paved the way for many hip-hop acts here today, but the threshold wasn’t broken until Cardi B came on the scene in 2017. After Cardi B and Nicki Minaj both dominated the charts in 2018, we began to see a large influx of women being in the spotlight. In 2019, Megan Thee Stallion released her breakout hit mixtape “Fever”. To name a few in 2020, we had the likes of rapper Big Latto (formerly known as Mullato), Flo Milli, Saweetie and Doja Cat come into the limelight. Each of these artists has released superb projects since.

What’s Next For Cardi B?

There no real way of knowing what will Cardi B do next. Will she let ‘Up’ dominate the charts and disappear for another six months as she did with ‘WAP’? Or are the two singles leading to an album announcement soon? One thing is for sure, she’s only going up from here.