Cardi B: The Ratchet Cousin We All Believed In
This weekend has been a big one for Cardi B.
Friday, April 6th saw the release of her debut album Invasion of Privacy, which has been met with nothing but extreme love and support from her peers, as evidenced by every screenshot and repost shared by our beloved Belcalis on her Instagram. Then Saturday, Cardi sent us into (Cardi)ac arrest when she confirmed the pregnancy rumors by revealing her baby bump during a performance on Saturday Night Live. Between her fiancé surprising her at her listening party by flying in her family from the Dominican Republic and her album being set to debut at #1 on the Billboard 100, it goes without saying that this has been an incredible weekend for Cardi B, and we could not be happier for her.
There's something about Cardi B that makes each of her victories feel like it's shared. It is the combination of Cardi's rags to riches story and her constant dedication to remaining authentic that makes her someone you can't help but love. She's a flawed character who can't hold her tongue, and she's had to make more than a few apologies since her rise to fame, but this just further strengthens our allegiance with her. In a world where everybody is a slave to branding, Cardi's honest Bronx Girl Anti-Brand is refreshing and relatable. She's next gen Ghetto Fabulous. She feels like that loudmouthed cousin you always knew was gonna blow up one day, so long as she was able to keep her ass out of jail (because you luh your crazy cousin but she likes to fight and that could have easily been her downfall).
What is it about Cardi B that makes her feel like the cousin who's always in the kitchen grabbing a second helping of banana pudding but you ain't even mad because she always helps grandma wash the dishes without being asked? Some say it's because of her underdog status but I venture it's more than that. Cardi didn't just glow up and leave her old life behind, she continues to carry her past with her and often times advertises it with pride. She constantly reminds us of her stripper roots because she wants the world to know that dreams come true for strippers too. Cardi didn't go from ratchet to riches but rather to ratchet with riches, and that's what makes her feel like our favorite cousin. She didn't switch up on us once she secured the bag, and that commitment to self is what makes us feel so connected with her on an almost familial level. She celebrates her victories with us but she also isn't afraid to tell us to fuck off. That dedication to authenticity is all too key in maintaining the magic that is Cardi B.
Cardi's musical evolution also plays a major role in her likeability. Oftentimes, we see newcomers step on the scene with a polished and established sound. Cardi B is still experimenting and trying new things and she admits that. Listening to her discography you can hear her sound evolving and, most importantly, improving. Put Gangster Bitch Music Vol. 1 next to Invasion of Privacy and the contrast is stark. She's improved in her flow. Her wordplay is getting better. She's evolving before our very eyes and watching that growth is exciting. A quick glance at her Instagram story will show you that Cardi works her ass off, sometimes sleeping overnight in the studio so that she can get her sound just right. That kind of dedication to the work is inspiring and it's evident in her music. Her sound is improving and if her work ethic stays the same, there's no doubt that Cardi B will take over the world - though it's hard to say she hasn't already.
Is Cardi B perfect? Hell no. And she's never claimed to be. Though she aims to remind girls that dreams can come true for babies from the Bronx, she's said more than once that she is nobody's role model and that at the end of the day, she's just trying to live her life. She's imperfect and she's learning. But that's the thing about family: they're imperfect. They're loud mouthed and rude and always pop off at the most inappropriate time during Thanksgiving dinner - but you love them no matter what. And we cannot wait to see what's next in store for cousin Cardi.
Listen to Cardi B's new album Invasion of Privacy on Spotify below.