Simply put, Cardi B is an acquired taste. Not all hip-hop fans can get behind her brash personality and self-indulgent lyrics, but she remains a female icon for a lot of young women.
Her newest single, featuring Megan Thee Stallion, has gone #1 in just about every major streaming platform and has been the subject of debate for hip-hop fans for its aggressively sexual lyrics and taking female empowerment hand-in-hand with sexual liberation.
This is exactly why “WAP” is a much more dangerous single than it first appears.
First things first, this is NOT a piece that is arguing about the integrity (or lacktherof) in this genre concerning decency, but it is just a look at this song and the accompanying video.
Many detractors have said that the song is damaging, and that it encourages less-than-desirable behavior, like music video director Robby Starbuck, who took to Twitter to disparage the song and its fans for their lack of awareness.
I’ve directed rap videos for Eve, Snoop Dogg, Gucci Mane, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Yachty, Machine Gun Kelly, Akon and more. I’m not a prude. Art can be crazy. WAP by Cardi B is not art. It’s just disgusting. It’s not empowering, it’s degrading. It’s trash. Vile trash poisoning youth.
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) August 11, 2020
Defenders of the song, however, have said that the song is trying to reverse the misogynistic tropes of hip-hop, and that is much more of a poppy dance hit than an actual political statement.
Megan Thee Stallion even came to the defense of the song on Twitter, having the typically passive aggressive reply.
Lol dudes will scream “slob on my knob” word for word and crying abt WAP 😂 bye lil boy
— TINA SNOW (@theestallion) August 11, 2020
The song is terrible. The melody is basic, the lyrics are repetitive, sexist, self-objectifying, and contain no depth whatsoever.
It isn’t catchy, but rather meticulously crafted by sound designers to fit the “twerking” genre of videos on social media apps like TikTok and Instagram and it is designed like every other hit.
It is the absolute pinnacle of the term “no heart or soul’ in studio music or a single touch of genuine personality because a 3-minute song had 6 writers, 2 producers and 4 engineers who all had a hand in making this abomination of a track that is shallow and habitually harmful to the listeners.
Cardi B is normalizing social aggression and using the false guise of empowerment to justify toxic behavior.
One look at tweets like this will show you how misguided and misinformed people can be.
men not really mad women are rapping about WAP bc they rap abt it all the time. the real issue is Cardi took shit wayyy too far for them when she said she don’t cook or clean & still got a ring. they are in a fit of terror bc their slaves are too close to freedom.
— B (@DontWorryBoutB) August 11, 2020
Comparing female lives in the United States to be akin to “slavery” is so inappropriate in this political climate. (or any, for that matter)
The video, on the other hand, is showcasing yet another social issue; the act of revering celebrities for their stature and not their substance.
Celebrity icons like Ruby Rose and Kylie Jenner show up in the video to make small cameos. Again, all figureheads of makeup/fashion influence all throughout the world of online advertising.
They push the stereotype that women have to have big fake breasts, always wear makeup that cakes their face, and strive to be a physical object of desire for men.
It’s sexist in the worst way, because fans actually buy into the idea that this is supposed to be a form of empowerment when it is a 3-minute advertisement for makeup, superficiality, and self-objectification.
While it is the creative freedom of the artists to create what they can, it is best to understand what we are listening to and the effect it could have in our society. This isn’t rock n’roll, its just toxic.