Cardi B seems to have weathered #SurvivingCardiB, bags 21 nominations for Billboard Music Awards 2019
The rapper has explained that she drugged and robbed men in order to "survive". Does Cardi's image of a hustler allows her get away with actions that others may not?
Despite #SurvivingCardiB, the Bronx rapper seems to be at the top of her musical game with 21 nominations for 2019 Billboard Music Awards.
Cardi won the Billboard Award for Top Female Rapper in 2018. For this year, the rapper is also a double-nominee in three categories (Top Selling Song, Top Collaboration and Top Hot 100 Song). In addition to this, her catalogue of songs have tallied 5.8 billion on-demand streams in the US. In fact, her debut studio effort 'Invasion of Privacy' (which made her the only fifth female rap artist with a No. 1 album) launched with 202.6 million on-demand audio streams for its songs in its first week, according to Nielsen Music.
This was the biggest streaming week ever for an artist’s debut studio album.
Things weren't all that golden for her just over a week ago. A three-year-old live video of Cardi admitting to drugging and robbing (some reports also include raping) men when she was still a stripper resurfaced to a lot of outrage.
People weren't quite psyched to know that the rapper, who granted grew popular for her very appreciated and more often than not criticized ratchet attitude, could be capable of such grave crime.
The incident even incited many people to criticise her brand of music. So much so that people called her a "fraud" without any real knowledge of music and rap.
However, even as the outrage was growing, Cardi retired from the issue by nonchalantly tweeting that she will never go out of fashion - that she will never be cancelled.
A lot of this could be credited to how Cardi has always presented herself as a hustler - someone who remains unfazed despite the challenges life throws at them, pursuing their dream and passion relentlessly. "I made the choices I did at the time because I had very limited options," she wrote on a now-deleted Instagram post last Tuesday, adding, “I have a past that I can’t change we all do.”
In the three-year-old live video that went viral, a very emotional Cardi can be heard saying, "Ni**as must have forgotten the shit that I did to motherfucking survive. Like, I had to go strip. I had to go, 'Oh yeah, you want to fuck me? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, let's go to this hotel,' and I'd drug ni**as up, and I'd rob them. That's what I used to do! Nothing was motherfucking handed to me, my ni**a. Nothing."
Today, according to Cardi, because she enjoys a certain comfort, she doesn't feel the need to include this particular incident in her music since she doesn't want to glorify the crimes. "I was blessed to be able to rise from that," she wrote in the same post, "but so many women have not."
It isn't wrong in expecting that Cardi pays for her actions just like other celebrities who have wronged others (for example R Kelly and Bill Cosby, who her crimes are being compared with). At the moment though, Cardi isn't facing any legal charges since there is no complaint against her. However, her constant instilling that she is a hustler and did what she did in order to survive works in her favour.
For one, both R Kelly and Bill Cosby have been accused of repeatedly, over decades, using their power as high-standing men in social circles, to drug and rape women (Cosby) and rape and abuse women and young girls (Kelly). Cardi, on the other hand, admitted to the crime for "survival".
Doubtlessly, drugging and robbing are wrong - legally and morally. But comparing Cardi's crime to that of Kelly and Cosby doesn't stand since the gravity of the crimes are different.
The rapper admitting to the crimes in the video sits neatly with the persona Cardi has created for herself: a hustler, a worker, a woman making it big - a woman who has worked for everything she has today. And her fans love her for exactly that.
That explains why her popularity has remained unperturbed.
In fact, the rapper was recently included in streaming giant Spotify's RapCaviar 'Pantheon', which includes life-sized sculptures of the biggest breakthrough artists of the year, "cultural disruptors who are making an undeniable impact on hip-hop."
"Cardi B has cemented herself not only as one of the top acts in hip-hop, but also as one of the most important artists in all of pop culture. She was the first solo female rapper to win a Grammy for Best Rap Album with Invasion of Privacy, but her work doesn’t just appeal to rap fans. She’s been bridging the gap between two of the fastest-growing genres in the world (hip-hop and Latin), while setting records along the way. This past year, Cardi owned the cultural conversation, and the phone in her sculpture is a nod to her influence going beyond music," the streaming giant explained on their website.
The Billboard Music Awards nominations are a further nod to her influence and talent.
It looks like Cardi B isn't getting cancelled anytime soon - much like she predicted.
For how long though?