Cardi B is a lot more than a record-breaking machine: She’s also a U.S. history scholar…of sorts. Although the rapper does many interviews, one of the most revelatory recent profiles of her was by GQ because that’s where we learned Cardi’s love for political science. “I love government. I'm obsessed with presidents. I'm obsessed to know how the system works,” she said.
Her favorite president, through, is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, because “he helped us get over the Depression, all while he was in a wheelchair” due to polio. “All he was worried about was trying to make America great—make America great again for real,” Cardi told GQ’s Caity Weaver, referencing Trump, who she’s openly criticized plenty of times before. “He's the real 'Make America Great Again,' because if it wasn't for him, old people wouldn't even get Social Security.”
Just in case you need a refresher: it’s true that FDR created Social Security back in 1935. The program is intended to help retired workers who are 65 or older by providing them with an income even after retirement. Americans contribute to Social Security when they pay their taxes, which Cardi B probably learned when she paid her taxes this year.
Her remarks were picked up by the Social Security Works Twitter account last week.
Bernie’s tweet has opened up a whole new world of possible questions. Can the dude name at least one of her songs? Can he rap “Bodak Yellow” at least half as well as Denzel Washington can? Does this mean Cardi B is now going to be invited on CNN as a political pundit?
Guys, 2018 is so weird.
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In clinical terms,Love & Hip Hop is a long-running reality franchise about the personal and professional struggles of figures in the music business. In colloquial terms, it’s a ratchet-reality soap opera with around 200 interwoven characters. Many of them exist at the periphery of the music industry; others have won Grammys, gone platinum, and crafted No. 1 records at some point in their career. In nearly every episode, there is an obligatory scene of one or more of them in the studio. But with very few songs released, we need to know: What exactly are they working on?
LHH is the cornerstone of Vh1. In 2017, the network had four of the top 10 unscripted shows on cable, and the Atlanta and New York editions were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. And shows weren’t measured in “social engagement” before Love & Hip Hop started dominating Twitter each time an episode aired. All this to say, everyone is watching the show. Everyone is talking about the show. But no one is fucking with the music from the show.
In fact, for a program called Love & Hip Hop, only one featured personality from its cast is actually relevant for their current musical output: a former stripper with minimal prior rap experience named Cardi B.
And no one saw her coming.
When Cardi joined Love & Hip Hop’s New York cast in season 6 she was already a social media starlet with over a million followers on Twitter (she now has 2.8M). She was known for her personality, not any musical inclinations, and had retired from the pole two months before the season premiere on December 14, 2015. By that point Cardi had started making a whole living off club appearances. But Vh1 wanted to portray her as a silly exotic dancer languishing in a messy situationship.
“Yo, it’s so crazy, like, them motherfuckers [the producers] really doubted me. It’s like, why would y’all doubt me? Like, I have seven hundred thousand bajillion followers,” she told THE FADER in February 2016. “I’m telling them like, ‘Yo, I have a brand. I’m not even an artist and I fill out clubs. Three thousand, whatever the crap, I fill them shits out!’ But they didn’t care about that. They just wanted to make me look as the stripper, a struggling stripper.”
love & hip hop may help raise an artist’s visibility, but for all the wrong reasons when it comes to their actual artistry.
And indeed, she played her part. In her now-legendary LHH video introduction, Cardi announced, “Hey, America, washpoppin’? You might know me as that annoying dancer on social media that be talking hella crazy, with the long nails and the big ol’ titties, but I’m just a regular, degular, shmegular girl from the Bronx.” We went on to see Cardi’s frustration over Power 105 radio personality DJ Self, whom she slept with occasionally, not playing her music. In her words, he was “the hottest DJ in New York or whatever” and she was willing to deal with him seeing other women so long as he helped get her music played.
See, for most of the show’s history, that was the dynamic: The men were the legitimate figures in the industry, and the women were around to jockey for their assistance or attention. Remember how Stevie J. constantly threatened to send Joseline Hernandez back to the strip club on Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta? Like no character before or after her, Cardi B. was able to flip the script.
To understand how disruptive Cardi was, we should rewind. The show’s earliest iteration, Keeping Up With the Joneses, centered around Dipset rapper Jim Jones, his longsuffering girlfriend Christine Lampkin, and outspoken mother, Nancy “Mama” Jones. But Jimmy became less interested after he released his most successful single, “We Fly High.” To save the show, manager Yandy Smith and her mentor, Violator Management co-founder Mona Scott-Young, bumpedJones down to supporting cast member, and elevated Chrissy and her friends to the main cast. Re-christened Love & Hip Hop, the show was now giving visibility to the women behind famous men in hip-hop.
Now, fast-forward: Cardi B. came on the show with a game plan, and it wasn’t to be behind anybody. Her cunning, singular focus is perhaps what allowed her to become the show’s unlikeliest success story. This theory makes more sense when you consider that Cardi quit after two seasons in order to pursue her music. She paused the shenanigans to go work on her craft, instead of posturing in the studio like many of the men we see every episode. Within months of leaving LHH, she released her second mixtape, signed a multimillion-dollar record deal, then released “Bodak Yellow.” And within a year of her last trip to Vh1, Cardi had a No. 1 record, two Grammy nominations, and multiple pop and hip-hop features dominating the charts.
Given her beloved personality, Cardi could’ve easily joined the likes of LHH mainstays Stevie J., Lil Scrappy, and Yung Joc, bouncing between spinoffs in reality TV purgatory. But unlike them, Cardi didn’t want chasing checks from Mona Scott-Young to be her ceiling. “A lot of the n***as on that show are cornballs, but it is what it is,” clairvoyant Cardi said in an interview right before she left the LHH.
That about sums up why no one who continues to appear on the show is likely to break through on the charts any time soon. LHH may help raise an artist’s visibility, but for all the wrong reasons when it comes to their actual artistry. We all agreed amongst ourselves that the franchise was fake, but it was a juicy lie that we enjoyed pretending to believe. Cardi’s contrasting authenticity made us step into the light.
Cardi could’ve easily joined the likes of LHH mainstays Stevie J., Lil Scrappy, and Yung Joc, bouncing between spinoffs in reality TV purgatory. But Cardi didn’t want chasing checks from Mona Scott-Young to be her ceiling.
Millions of people rallied behind her as a person—she could have sold us anything she wanted after that, lip kits or weave—but she chose to sling hits. Cardi didn’t blow up the day after she left, no. But she was persistent and converted momentum into clout. Some of the credible artists remaining on LHH, like Remy Ma and Trina, haven’t been able to figure this part out yet—even though both have albums on the way and purposefully steer clear of the drama by limiting their camera time. There appears to still be an understanding of their brand equity, which is something many of their peers seem to lack, but the reality of reality TV is that it’s a means to an end.
As we sit here in the afterglow of Cardi’s soon-to-be-crowned No. 1 debut album, her feature on Saturday Night Live, and third appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, we have to respect what she’s achieved. Cardi was an underestimated woman whose role on LHH was to orbit the “powerful” men, but yet she launched past them all. As a soon-to-be mother engaged to one of the hottest artists in the industry, she’s basically secured the love and the hip-hop without the cameras. It’s doubtful anyone else on the franchise can replicate those shmoney moves.
Cardi B’s highly anticipated first album, Invasion of Privacy, finally dropped earlier today, and it’s already making major waves. The general impression is that Cardi has proved she isn’t a “Bodak Yellow” one-hit wonder, and her in-your-face personality shines through all of the tracks. One of Cardi’s new songs, “She Bad” featuring YG, is garnering all kinds of attention for a few cheeky lines referencing some very famous celebrities, namely Chrissy Teigen and Rihanna.
In “She Bad,” Cardi raps: “I need Chrissy Teigen/Know a bad bitch when I see one/Tell Rih-Rih I need a threesome.” It’s a wink to two of the most real and baddest celebrities in the game right now, and fits in nicely with the rest of the song’s sexual subject matter.
Here’s one thing Cardi B (and the rest of us, to be honest) might have wished for, but didn’t necessarily expect: a response from Chrissy herself. Chrissy took to her all-powerful Twitter to respond to the lyrics, and even though her response is short and sweet, it’s honestly the exact same reaction anyone with a pulse had when imagining Cardi B, Chrissy, and Rihanna… hanging out together.
Chrissy, who has written the New York Times best-selling cookbook Cravings, is a huge foodie and is always posting photos of what she eats and cooks on her social media. Right after she noted that she is aware of her new status in the rap world, she played around a little with the new “bad bitch” title—and proved that her previous “biscuit” line wasn't just a joke.
The holiday weekend brought plenty of drama for Cardi B and Offset.
On the same day Cardi’s new single “Bartier Cardi” dropped, a video of an unidentified woman dancing naked in a hotel room surfaced online. Offset allegedly filmed the footage one month before he proposed to Cardi, thus setting off a wave of cheating accusations. Sources said the video was leaked by someone who hacked into Offset’s iCloud account. The hacker is also accused of sharing explicit videos of Cardi that were filmed during her days working as a stripper.
As if the holidays aren't stressful enough…
It seemed the couple were unfazed by all the whispers and scandal, though. Shortly after the cheating rumors flared, Cardi and Offset posted a video in which they were seen simulating sex. Many people assumed the footage was real; however, a spokesperson for Cardi told TMZ it was all “a joke” and that both parties were completely clothed during the filming.
As for those leaked videos of naked Cardi? Well, the “Bodak Yellow” rapper isn’t really stressing about it. She took to social media to remind everyone that before she blew up, her job was to get naked.
That vid of me showing my boobs i was 21 & still a stripper !and soo what ?!ya always talking about how i got no nipples ..well now you know😁Live life !Its my body !I do what i want .
People keep posting the nude videos of me like if i wasn’t a stripper before 😩😩😂🤷🏽♀️You know there’s videos of me stripping with my titties & ass out on YouTube already right 😂?anyways i know i know i got a nice body right 😎
But just because the couple is seemingly unbothered by all the leaks, that doesn’t mean they’re going to let the hacker get away with it. Cardi's attorney, Scott Mason, told TMZthat because the videos were obtained illegally, their team is doing a full investigation to track the culprit down. Once the suspect is identified, Mason said they intend to take legal action.
Cardi B and Offset aren’t afraid to mix business with pleasure. The newly engaged couple has teamed up on a number of records, such as “Lick,”“MotorSport,” and now “Um Yea,” from Quality Control’s new Control the Streets Vol. 1 compilation. Though the latter track is the most recent, Cardi revealed it marked her first-ever recording session with her husband-to-be—a moment that may have solidified their relationship.
“[T]his was the first time I ever got In the studio with @offsetyrn. I did LICK way before he featured on it, anyways i was soo nervous cause he was looking at me like ‘let’s see if she really be doing this shit on her own,’” the “Bodak Yellow” rapper wrote on Instagram. “[T]hen I got in the booth […] Had to show his ass why he had to put a ring on this finger.”
A post shared by Cardi B Official IG (@iamcardib) on Dec 8, 2017 at 9:43am PST
She clearly did something to impress him.
Following weeks of engagement rumors, Offset proposed to Cardi in October during Power 99's Powerhouse in Philadelphia. Cardi expressed her love for the Migos member shortly after, writing on Instagram: “Thank you for seeing the potential in me since you met me. For giving me advice molding me and loving me […] I can’t wait to spend FOREVAAAA with you. Lets make a lot shmoney and love together.”
The memorial service—which took place in Long Beach, New York—began with a speech by Lil Peep’s grandmother Jenny Kastner (32-minute mark). She told the crowd she received a lot of encouraging messages from the rapper’s fans and that she was “very touched by how many of them really [understood] him.” Kastner went on to read a couple of fan letters, the first of which praised Lil Peep (real name Gus Ahr) for being so open and accessible to his fanbase. The second message focused on the rapper’s uniqueness and influence on the world.
“He wasn’t the modern-day Kurt Cobain, by the way. He is the first and only Lil Peep,” Kastner read from the letter (34:25), “and arguably left behind a legacy that will have a far greater impact. His kindness will live on through lots of people.”
Lil Peep’s mother, Liza Womack, took the stage moments later, recounting a conversation she had with her son Oskar shortly after Lil Peep died.
“One of the things Oskar said to me was, ‘Momma, just think of what he accomplished in barely 21 years […] Most people never get to do in their entire lifetime what Gus did in 21 years,’” Womack recalled. “[…] Gus did it. He lived his own life on his own terms. He was a stubborn, driven, talented, crafty, observant, and tender young man. Gus was also vulnerable.”
Womack went on to speak about her son’s view of the world, and how he refused to conform to society’s expectations. She said he began to display his rebellion by getting a tattoo, which led to another tattoo, and another, and many more after that. The more he looked like an outsider, the more he was treated like an outsider, his mother explained.
“Years later, Gus told me that it was easy to tell the difference between the people who saw his tattoos when they looked at him, and the people who saw him [for who he was],” Womack said, before encouraging others to look beyond superficial observations. […] Please do not make assumptions about people or events in ignorance […] Try to step outside of your own box and open your mind to new ideas. My sweet Lil Peeper is gone now, but he has surely left us a lot of wonderful material to review and consider […] I am so proud of him. You have no idea.”
You can watch the full memorial service, which included speeches by friends and colleagues, in the video above. And watch Good Charlotte's performance of “Awful Things” below.
We probably shouldn't expect Cardi B's debut album anytime soon.
For the latest update on the still-in-progress untitled album, Cardi B confirmed Sunday that she's taking her time to craft something that feels “right.” As previously teased, Cardi added that she's finished multiple songs for the debut that were later shelved because she didn't think they were album-worthy. “I have a lot of pressure on me,” Cardi tweeted:
I have a lot of pressure on me.I️ have songs stashed up .I just don’t think they qualified for my album .Sometimes i think is ready sometimes i think it’s not so I’m going to take my time till it’s right.
Cardi has made similar comments before, most notably in her recent Rolling Stonecover story. She said she has “six, seven solid songs” she feels are album quality, though she admitted her opinion of them could very well change within a month. “It's not as fun to do music,” she said. “My mind doesn't flow as free 'cause I have so much on my mind.”
Though many are placing pressure on Cardi to capitalize on the success of her breakout hit “Bodak Yellow” (and the string of hit features she's released since), others—including J. Cole—have advised her to ignore those expectations and just worry about the work. “You already won,” Cole told her in September. “Just drop and repeat.”
Offset has proposed to Cardi B. Offset asked the very large question on bended knee (sort of, it was more of a Crouching Tiger Hidden Migos thing) at Power 99's Powerhouse in Philadelphia. The two have been dating since the top of the year. Watch the cuteness of the proposal and Cardi's ecstatic reaction below.
A post shared by #1 Offset ❤️Cardi B Fanpage (@bardiset.page) on Aug 22, 2017 at 5:53pm PDT
An article fromReal Cool Nation titled “Exclusive: Cardi B Just Got Engaged To Migos Rapper Offset — He Proposed Last Night!” was published and added fuel to the fire. The article turned out not to be true, well, not until now at least.
Cardi is featured on Migos' new Culture 2 single “MotorSport” featuring Nicki Minaj. The track came out just hours prior to the proposal. Both Offset and Cardi B's 2017, even not taking into account this whole engagement business, has been spectacular.
When Instagram aped Snapchat’s “Stories” feature, the mini-clips were set by default to disappear within 24 hours. That setting will likely work to Cardi B’s benefit Saturday after the reality show star-turned chart-topping rapper posted a message hinting at a breakup with her boyfriend and Migos member Offset. Cardi posted a selfie with a text overlay simply reading “Single.”
A post shared by Cardi B Official IG (@iamcardib) on Oct 20, 2017 at 6:44pm PDT
She then appeared to double down on the claim with a standard Instagram picture post featuring her throwing up the “peace” sign with both hands with a caption that read “Peace nikka.”
It was a seemingly abrupt about-face for a couple that was surrounded by some false engagement rumors as recently as August. Despite the fact that many celebrity relationships have the lifespan of a common fruit fly, mutual fans of Cardi and Offset took to Twitter and went into freak out mode.
Cardi B and Offset did NOT break up. Cardi B and Offset did NOT break up. Cardi B and Offset did NOT break up. Cardi B and Offset did NOT br pic.twitter.com/H823wXSphJ
Later Saturday, by Cardi’s own admission, cooler heads prevailed. The “Bodak Yellow” rapper explained her rationale for the relationship status update.
“So listed babes, I exaggerated a lil bit ’cause earlier I was really upset and the Bronx girl in me always have to go to the extreme,” Cardi said in a subsequent IG Stories post. “I came to my senses now. I’m sorry…Waffle House on me?”
Most fans will likely never find out what caused the spat between Cardi B and Offset because it’s none of our collective business. However, hours after everything calmed down, Cardi had some jokes about the source of the friction.
“Reasons why me and Offset got into it …I think he stoled my purple blanket but it wasn’t him so I’m still looking for the suspect,” she tweeted when fans flooded her mentions about the potential split.
Reasons why me and Offset got into it …I think he stoled my purple blanket 😒but it wasn’t him so I’m still looking for the suspect
“Why my dad was yelling at me cause somebody told him me and Offset broke up😒..and I’m quick cut my dad off so don’t get comfortable,” Cardi joked via Twitter, referencing a prominent line from the chorus of “Bodak Yellow.”
Why my dad was yelling at me cause somebody told him me and Offset broke up😒..and I’m quick cut my dad off so don’t get comfortable 😂😂
If Cardi B and Offset were your figurative #RelationshipGoals, you can take solace in the fact that love’s turbulent emotional waters can be navigated by a patty melt and some “scattered, covered and chunked” hash browns at the nearest Waffle House. Love wins.