If you're not giving Cardi her props yet, these punchlines may convince you.
While protesters of the #BardiGang are quick to come for Bronx-bred emcee Cardi B's staccato flow, her thick New York-meets-Hispaniola accent and the lightning-fast come up in which she turned dancing for men in Midtown into a budding rap career--there's no denying that the 25-year-old knows how to hustle. Parlaying the small New York following she gained from being a loud-mouthed stripper that could bag up to 3 Gs on a good night into a bonafide status as an online entertainer with a carefully censored public-facing persona, Bardi has consistently straddled the line between transparency and heavily-guarded privacy. Quick to drop an expletive-laced Instagram rant directed at her detractors, the "Lick" rapper has been extremely careful in guarding her personal life during her glow-up, giving off the impression that she's consistently down to level with her fans--if and and only if the subject matter doesn't get too personal.
Translating her quick stint on Love & Hip Hop: New York into a wider social media following, Cardi B made waves after gifting the zeitgeist with "Bodak Yellow," the ultimate turn up anthem of 2017. However, mixtape-era Bardi shouldn't be discounted as trash simply because it came before the track that catapulted her into the mainstream, as Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1 and Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 2 are not without merit. While the collections are admittedly quite similar stylistically, adopting a bachata-infused, battle-friendly flow that brings icy trap beats to the intersection of Jamaican dancehall, the work of pre-fame Cardi B undeniably boasts a number of lyrical diamonds in the rough. While the "Lick" rapper has yet to master consistency in regards to serving up switched-up flows punctuated by inverted and slant rhymes, Cardi B possesses an uncanny ability to draw on her background as a viral sensation and turn any hashtag-friendly catchphrase into a bumping chorus. As evidenced by flipping her iconic line from Love & Hip Hop into one of her most popular mixtape tracks, the rapper knows how to assess the viability of a "moment" in internet culture and mold it to work for her career.
"When there’s a word that is catchy to me, I might use it in my music. Everybody kept saying ‘foreva, foreva’… And then I was like, 'Shit, I’m about to capitalize on it,'" said Cardi, referring to the oft-quoted hook, “Ran down on that bitch twice/ Ran down on that bitch twice/ You know me, I be with whatever/ If a bitch beef with me, we gon beef foreva."
"The way she projects a song, the way a song comes out of her, it’s just very her. A lot of people can do a song but it’s just the way she say it that [differentiates] her,” said producer SwiftOnDemand, a longtime professional collaborator and one-time co-star of the chart-topping hitmaker.
Favoring deep, dark beats and Swift's own brand of "rachet trap" production, Cardi B has laid out more than a few memorable bars since dropping Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1 in March, 2016. Here are some of the dopest lines from her growing collection.
1. "A hoe can hate but don't be fucking with my commas/And if she is I'll shape her up and she gon' get the line up."
This is a line from “Foreva” on Bardi’s first mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1. Never shy about securing the bag and getting that schmoney, Bardi makes it very clear she's not here for a hater to disrupt her payday.
2. "Pull up with the Gucci clutch, spitting clutch rhymes/Flyer than a big big B with a Blood tie/Don't do much, he get hard when I bust wines/No straws for this juice box, got one time."
Paired with a visual that serves as a gritty love letter to Cardi B's native New York, the rapper boasts her Blood affiliation on the track "Red Barz."
3. "I see some people who still worried about my revenue/I'm eating good you wish you could don't worry about my food."
According to Bardi, no one needed to question her bankroll even in the early days of her come-up, already boasting over 1 million followers on the 'Gram before her first appearance on Love & Hip Hop: New York.
4. "A hoe never gets cold, you know what the motto is/Unless it's baguettes diamond cuts, gold bottles, bitch Sitting in that 64, bitch, feeling hella lit."
This line, from Bardi's track "Hectic" turns another one of the rapper's iconic, highly-quotable observations ("A hoe never gets cold") from her time on reality television into a solid bar.
5. "Why would I hop in some beef (why?)/When I could just hop in a Porsche?/You heard she gon' do what from who?/That's not a reliable source, no."
Using her verse on Migos' "Motorsport" to shout out the industry for pushing her alleged beef with Nicki Minaj to the forefront of her career narrative, Bardi silences feud-starters once and for all by assuring them that she's focused on securing her own bag--and isn't coming for anyone else's.
6. "Red bottom M.J. moonwalk on a bitch/Moonwalkin' through your clique/I'm moonwalkin' in the 6/Sticky with the kick, moonrocks in this bitch."
Following up the success of "Bodak Yellow" with the single "Bartier Cardi," the Bronx-based rapper served up a lyric that dropped a clever M.J. reference tied in with a Zone 6/East Atlanta/Drake shoutout.
7. "Can you stop with all the subs?/Bitch I ain’t Jared/If you really want some smoke/You can pull up, you can get it."
Slapping on G-Eazy's "No Limits," Cardi proved that she brings the heat just as hard in her guest verses.
8. "You even got me trippin', you got me lookin' in the mirror different/Thinkin' I'm flawed because you inconsistent/Between a rock and a hard place, the mud and the dirt/It's gon' hurt me to hate you, but lovin' you's worse"
Speaking from her own experience, Cardi B tapped into the lasting effects of infidelity on her latest release "Be Careful" off of her forthcoming debut studio album Invasion of Privacy, set to drop April 6.