The Cult of Cardi B
Cardi B would like you to know she's regular, just with a little bit of extra money.
Cardi B has no filter. Her latest Instagram post commemorates International Women's Day by encouraging women to "feel the power to curse a nigga out." A few weeks back she shared a clip where she talks being proud to have grown up poor. In another recent and highly relatable post, she talks about how she loves to lurk and creep online. She's charming, she's funny, and she leaves no topic off the table. That brash, larger-than-life personality is exactly why she has won so many people over in recent years as a social media star and a cast member on VH1's Love and Hip-Hop.
Right now, Cardi B is having a moment, and it's not because of her online persona and short video missives; In January, she released her second mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2 to positive reception, and she just landed herself a contract with Atlantic. Now that she's left VH1's Love and Hip-Hop, she's just about crossed over from reality TV flash-in-the-pan to mainstream star. Now, she's even dating one third of the Migos, Offset, who's featured on her latest single, "Lick." Despite the fact that 2017 has been a rough year for many, Cardi B is thriving.
Noisey: You've recently had a little bit of time at home after a busy year. What do you like to do to relax?
Cardi B: Nothing. I just started watching Netflix. You know, I never had a Netflix account until a month ago.
What have you been watching?
I don't really watch TV. I watch myself on Love and Hip Hop.
Is it hard to watch yourself on [the show] or do you enjoy it?
It's scary because I don't know how they edit it. I don't know how people are going to take it. When I first came out on instagram. Some people took it well, some people took me well and some people didn't. When I came out on VH1, on the first day, people destroyed me. They bash me. They bash my teeth. Or I was a little too ghetto for people. It made me feel like, wow, I am ghetto. Wow, am I classless? But then I was like, what the fuck am I talking about. I'm well raised with manners. I'm not going to let these people make me feel this way until they got to know me a little better. Now it's way more easier than the first time I got on TV.
People love you.
Yeah. But the first time I was on TV, I swear to god I was crying.
How long did it take you to adjust to being that exposed and dealing with hate like that?
It took a long time. I'm still trying to adjust. I'm still trying to adjust. My skin is not tough yet. It's not there yet. Because I'm from the Bronx. I'm used to when someone saying something about me, and I can approach them. I can't approach thousands of people a day. I can't clap back at thousands of people in one day and everything. It's so weird that people really feel they know my life. People that have nothing going on for themselves are trying to give me advice on how I should live my life or what type moves I should do. You don't know me and you're not doing anything for your own fucking self.
I think on the positive side, a lot of people relate to you.
To this day, I feel like I'm so regular, just with a little bit of extra money. I'm just like everyone else. I shave. I still get hairs in my legs, in my vagina, in my underarms. My friends treat me the same. My family treat me the same. I go to my grandma's house and they still make me wash dishes. I just feel so regular. Sometimes when I see people, they be like oh my gosh and they're crying. A lot of people cry for me. I'm like, don't cry for me bitch, cry for President Obama. He makes me cry.
You've packed a lot in the past year, not even, past eight months. What's it been like, experiencing that, putting out two mixtapes since May?
It was a very exciting feeling, and then a little scared feeling. You know when you're little, your dreams is to be an artist. When you're a teenager, it's like I would like be a rapper. Then when I was 18, I was eh, whatever. Look how many people try to be rappers. What makes me think I would make it? When my manager told me to give a shot at my dreams, it was a little scary for me. Imagine if I don't make it, I can't even dream about [this]. I know that me dreams are never coming true. But I see that my dreams are coming too. I'm like, Oh my gosh, it's coming true. This is what I dreamed of.
Do you have time to appreciate all that? Do you even have time to think about it?
I'm not going to front. Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing much. Nah bitch, you're fuckin' buggin' out. Not too long ago, I was dancing in the strip club. My goal was to make $100,000 before I turned 25 to invest on property. I just spent $100,000 on a fucking watch. And that was my goal two years ago to make $100,000 to invest on properties. To have something besides dancing.
Let's talk about the mixtape. Does it show a different side of you [from Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1]?
I'll say about three songs showcase a different side of me. The rest of the songs are talking about similar stuff as my first mixtape because I still got to gravitate the hood. I'm very diverse in music and I would like to expand and people see that. But first I have to grab people who first supported me who are from the hood. I make music for girls from the hood. Even if you're not from the hood, I want to make a girl from the Valley from California to feel like she want to be a girl from the Bronx. I want a rich ass girl to want to be a girl who grew up poor like me. Who grew up fighting girls. I have a song, "Leave that Bitch Alone." Every girl, it seems like it's the next thing. A lot of these girls. I pop a nigga's tire. I'll key his car. I made something like that. I haven't heard a girl talk about how crazy she could get. The song is a little funny. I want a girl when she talking about her boyfriend she be like yeah, that's how I feel.
People need to be uplifted now with what's coming tomorrow, so maybe you'll steal some of Trump's thunder with your mixtape coming out on inauguration day.
It feels so unlucky. Tomorrow, you know what, it kind of feels like tomorrow is the beginning of hell. Trump being president is kind of scary. But then again, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt because so many people are doubting him, he feels like he has to prove himself. Maybe it's a tactic he's doing for publicity. But then again, alright, you're going to far, you're looking for problems with China. What are you doing?
So if you were asked to perform the inauguration, would you do it?
No. I saw a question on Facebook, would you do it for five million. Oh fuck, five million? But then, would that make me cool now? Is that me selling myself? I would feel like I'm selling myself. It's just like, I will have a talk with him. I don't think he'll ever talk with me. I'll have a talk with him, because at the end of the day, a lot of people are mad at black artists or black people that is on the media talking to Trump. I'd rather a black person from the hood tell Trump the shit that happens in the hood so he could see our point of views and understand our point of views and what do we want to happen in our hoods to change it. You know, a white person that is not from the hood and don't understand the things that happen and what we want. They wouldn't know what we want. Someone from the hood knows what we want. Me supporting him and me singing or rapping or backflipping at his inauguration. It would be so fake of me. When I found out he won, my heart was a little heavy. So, what am I celebrating? It would be fake of me.
There may be a lot of bad stuff going on, but what are you looking forward to in 2017?
I put a whole lot of stops on a lot of things. I have different type of deals on the table for TV. I kind of put a hold, even though I kind of want to take it cause it's like money. Money right there.
Are we going to get you in your own show?
Maybe. I have a lot of deals on the table, but I put a hold on it. I have to sacrifice for my music. I want to take a whole two months off of filming or hosting, just straight album writing, focusing, everything. And I have to sacrifice that. I have to sacrifice the TV, as much as I have so much ideas. I have to sacrifice for a little bit just for the music.
Photos by Matt Seger
Leslie Horn is Noisey's Managing editor. Follow her on Twitter.