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Cardi B’s WAP is no sexual trailblazer, it’s just another money-making hip-hop track with a faux political agenda created by men

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
Cardi B’s WAP is no sexual trailblazer, it’s just another money-making hip-hop track with a faux political agenda created by men
The men behind Cardi B simply use her to shout obscenities so everyone will take note and pretend she’s a feminist touting a hypersexualized empowerment agenda. But it’s really all about making millions of dollars off her back.

Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar is everything to everyone. Feminist. Stripper. Catholic. Afro-Latina. Afro-Caribbean. Money-making machine. Influencer. And better known as hugely popular potty-mouthed rap act Cardi B.

Having come to public attention via a reality TV show (what else?) that followed her around as she sought to fulfil her musical aspirations and enjoy the fame that came with them, Cardi B’s latest venture, with sidekick Megan Thee Stallion, has gone crazy online with a filthy video to accompany a bass-heavy beat and lyrics that many, even the most open-minded, could only describe as rough.

WAP, an acronym for Wet Ass Pussy, is a song about a young girl falling in love with a handsome prince, then living happily together ever after. Not.

It’s more like a crazed three-minutes-and-eight-second boast from a sex-obsessed narcissist looking to up the ante on nastiness by telling us in workmanlike terms about the purported qualities of her vagina.

Charming.

But it’s no surprise. And actually it’s not that shocking, despite one God-fearing US congressman saying that after hearing the track he felt like pouring holy water in his ears.

It’s derivative, been-there-before stuff, that female rappers such as Missy Elliott, Kelis, Lil’ Kim and more recently Nicki Minaj have all visited in their music. Sure, the language ratchets things up a notch but also poses a problem: what next? After rapping the advice to “bring a bucket and mop for this wet ass pussy,” where do you go next?

Cardi B – a name derived from her former nickname of Bacardi – is managed by two men, Kevin ‘Coach K’ Lee and Pierre ‘Pee’ Thomas, at the Atlanta-based management company Quality Control.

Not only is her management team all-male, so too are her producers, Ayo N Keyz, or as they are on their birth certificates, Austin Owens and James Foye III, who form the UpperClassmen, a Grammy Award-winning, platinum record-selling hip-hop production team.

They’ve worked with dozens of the biggest names in US hip-hop, including Beyonce, Chris Brown and Jeezy, before being handed Cardi B after she fell out with her former label.

Finally, the director of the accompanying highly provocative music video for WAP, a work of art in itself to be sure, was made by another male, director Colin Tilley, who’s responsible for more than 200 videos for a host of artists.

It is naive to believe that these big wheels in the billion-dollar music machine see Cardi B as anything more than a young artist ripe for exploitation. 

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And there you have the true driving forces behind her career. They are, without exception, all men. Far from being some sort of political crusaders spearheading feminism through music, these guys are the ultimate music industry insiders. They’re not some bunch of amateurs from the ’hood pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable to wider society in the search for artistic truth.

While Cardi B publicly claims to be the initiator of some sort of hypersexualized neo-feminism that she wants to share with the world, the reality is she is being used by these guys to make money. Loads of money. Until interest in her falls off and they drop her like a hot rock for the next big thing.

What would really empower women is an equal opportunity in the music industry. A chance to work in top jobs with those management, production and music video companies who make so much money off the back of Cardi B.

The 27-year-old rapper is married to another music artist, Offset (Kiari Cephus), has a daughter, Kulture, and lives in a New Jersey apartment. Those are not exactly the wild, unbridled excesses she raps about and I just don’t buy the schtick that she is all about empowering women and their unbridled sexuality.

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The men behind her have identified that they can use this empowerment claim to attract the significant demographic that has a strong online interest in Instagram and YouTube, loves any show about the Kardashians, and believes that untold wealth and fame alone are worthwhile goals if you just use what you got, girl!

It’s wrong. Try finding a job in a bank on that basis, or in a bakery for that matter.

Cardi B is a highly stylized character that Belcalis Almanzar uses to project lurid, hypersexualized fantasies and she plays the game by claiming some sort of political agenda that makes the world a better place for young women.

What those of us with young daughters are afraid of is that they might take Cardi B seriously and copy the behavior of this off-the-wall misandrist into their real lives. It would be disastrous.

In much the same way as misogyny and the N-word populate the lyrics of Cardi B’s male counterparts, there comes a point when the lines about artistic freedom, keepin’ it real, sexual freedom and empowerment become just cynical music industry jargon used to dupe the public.

Only kids and fools buy it. Lucky for Cardi B’s team, there are plenty of those around.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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