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Cardi B transcends traditional notions of value

Internets, Cardi B's first album just dropped, and my fear is that this won't mark the beginning of t

Life in a Shanty Town

April 6 · Issue #50 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

Cardi B’s first album just dropped, and my fear is that this won’t mark the beginning of the end of her proverbial 15 minutes of fame, if only because there isn’t a suitable replacement waiting in the wings. We might be stuck with her until at least the end of this summer, if not into 2019.
*shudders at the thought*
Not that Cardi B has another hit that I’m aware of. It’s been a good year since that song “Bodak Yellow” was at the height of its popularity, so she’s definitely due for one. I’m too much of a recluse to know the names of the songs she’s released since “Bodak” (I didn’t even hear that song until its popularity was on the downswing), but I feel like that wouldn’t be an issue if the songs were sufficiently popular.
People who can’t really rap sometimes run into problems replicating the success of a fluke hit single, with someone like Trinidad James being an obvious, if not particularly current, case in point.
But you don’t necessarily need a hit song to be the top rapper in the game. The last Drake album, which no one really cared for, did huge numbers mostly because they tacked “Hotline Bling” on to the end of it, and so that song’s six gozillion streams were counted as album sales (albeit at a discounted rate), per Billboard’s useless new ranking method. Views was thus declared to have been more popular in 2016 than Purple Rain was in 1984.
It’s only a matter of time until the TIs figure out a way to make it seem as if, say, a 6ix9ine album, sold more copies than Thriller.
The key might be putting 69 songs on it, as if it were an album by Stephin Merritt, the original Problematic Fave. One of the things they’re doing now is putting way more songs on an album than even the most committed hipster racist can reasonably be expected to listen to. That way, even if people only listen to it once, to confirm that it’s not any good, it ends up being the equivalent of three or four streams of an album that’s actually worth a shit. The new Migos album, for example, has 24 songs on it. It debuted atop the Billboard 200 despite receiving decidedly mixed reviews.
Scanning a track-listing for the Cardi B album, I see they’ve included “Bodak Yellow,” along with the song “Bartier Cardi” featuring 21 Savage, which I think may have been the failed follow-up to “Bodak Yellow.” (According to the wiki, it peaked at #14 on the Hot 100, whereas “Yellow” went all the way to #1, supplanting Taylor Swift.) I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s announced next week that Invasion of Privacy has broken some chart record originally held by Elvis Presley and/or Buhweet, regardless of what people think about the album.
Nicki Minaj was never as popular, at least in terms of bullshit statistics, and it seems like she’s now done for. I read, a few weeks ago, that she’s purposely disappeared from social media, I guess thinking she’ll be that much more popular when she returns. But I doubt anyone will give a shit. Why would we need Nicki Minaj ever again, when we’ve got Cardi B? In economic terms (which I can barely recall from having taken it in college), Cardi B is a replacement product for Nicki Minaj: if you’ve got one, you don’t need the other one.
Remy Ma also deserves some credit for helping rid the world of Nicki Minaj. In retrospect, “Shether” was the final nail in the coffin for Minaj’s career, with “Anaconda,” perhaps, having been the first. The dis song was suppressed by Minaj’s label and downplayed by the gay guys who write a lot of the rap criticism these days, who stan hard for Minaj for whatever reason—maybe her steadfast support for her creepy pedo brother. I’m just spitballing here. Nullus.
Could Remy Ma similarly kneecap Cardi B? I doubt it. She could literally kneecap Cardi B, or have Papoose do it (he can’t be busy), but I doubt there’s anything she could say about her in a song. It’s already a known fact that she was doing something strange for some change as recently as a couple of years ago, that she has weirdly strong-looking legs (possibly due to slight mental retardation) and that she probably should have waited until that “Bodak Yellow” check cleared the bank to get plastic surgery.
Between that and the number of critics willing to pretend to like her music, for the sake of identity politics, she’s officially beyond criticism. Our only hope might be if a street gang pops a cap in her ass, and even then the bullet might just end up lodged in fix-a-flat.
Take it easy on yourself,

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