‘Bodak Yellow‘ was easily one of the songs of the year – a ferocious introduction to the wider world from a woman ready to claim hip-hop for herself. Not everyone was impressed, though. A section of people accused its creator, Cardi B, of jacking Kodak Black’s flow and merely being an imitator here for her 15 minutes than someone who was about to be one of the biggest names in the game.
New Yorker Cardi is still on the rise, and it could still all peter out for her. She’s spoken recently about the pressures of making such a strong first step – ‘Bodak Yellow’ was her major label debut and became the first song by a female rapper with no features to top the US charts since 1998 – and her concerns about whether she can make an album that lives up to the hype. ‘Bartier Cardi’, her first song since ‘Bodak…’, should put some of those fears to rest while simultaneously silencing the doubters.
Much like the way she speaks – sentences punctuated by chirps and purrs and caws – when Cardi raps she goes from laidback cool to furious savagery. In the chorus, she mocks “Cardi took your man, you upset uh/Cardi got rich, they upset uh“, voice dripping with disdain, but she clearly knows she’s having the last laugh right now. When she boasts “Red bottom MJ moonwalkin’ on a bitch/Moonwalkin’ through your clique/I’m moonwalkin’ through the six/Sticky with the kicks, moonrocks in this bitch“, her cadence transforms from menacing to pure nasty in nought to 60, before switching back to casual just as fast.
Unlike ‘Bodak Yellow’, ‘Bartier Cardi’ does feature another rapper in the form of 21 Savage. That his verse is the least memorable part of the track speaks volumes about Cardi’s power and magnetism. If she can make an album full of cuts as strong as this, her place in hip-hop’s top tier should be cemented.