Every time I see someone trash Cardi, I feel like Tyrese on the inside screaming “What more do you want from her? Leave Cardi alone!”

Hip hop is interesting right now. There is a generational divide between the 80’s and the 90’s babies.

With all due respect, the 90’s millennials are different.

I have to admit, I love watching my little brother who was born in ’93 rebel. He gives zero fucks about what anyone thinks about him. Point. Blank. Period. And if you say anything to him that resembles negative feedback about his life, he has zero problems piercing you with his sharp New York wit.  

These 90’s babies aren’t polite. They want to be themselves and say exactly what’s on their minds. If my grandma were still here, she would say they have no couth.

In other words, they ain’t with the shits.

These young soldiers do and say the things we were taught to be polite about.

Case in point. During a family function one year, I couldn’t be rude and mention that our cousin brought a pornstar to dinner. My brother, on the other hand, pulled her videos up and showed everyone. I live my petty through him.

So it’s no surprise that hip hop has shifted once again with 90’s babies conducting this train.

80’s hip hop was about demolishing the system through knowledge and lyricism. Mainstream America reduced our collective consciousness through rap as a threat to their system.  

The 90’s carried the torch. It also introduced the likes of TLC, Destiny’s Child, Biggie, and Tupac. Suddenly, something shifted. Diddy was a genius when he produced Juicy, introducing R and B to rap, mainstreaming a sound that appealed to even bigger audiences.  

By the time the 2000s rolled around, hip hop became all about Atlanta. Tip Drill pushed the limits on late night music videos and Atlanta became King of Rap. It’s no surprise that strip clubs became the hot spot for female hustlers. Suddenly, Atlanta rap was mainstream on New York stations. The culture shifted. 

The trap message was very clear.

90’s baby Cardi B didn’t grow up in the suburbs, she grew up in the South Bronx and stripping was the trap for girls like her. Growing up in the South Bronx was grimey and she had to figure out how to make it. Being poor didn’t help. This makes Cardi appeal to not just women but drug dealers, gangsters and other men who grew up hustling too. What’s the difference between an early Jay-Z and Cardi B?

You know why people love Cardi? It isn’t because she is the best lyricist. If people found out tomorrow she wasn’t writing her own raps, no one would care. People love Cardi because she is real. She is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum of women who we are supposed to idolize. Black girls are constantly told how to act and how to behave in society to be accepted and it’s exhausting.

Cardi B is a big “fuck you” to the system that told us to be everything but who we are. It’s not about what she says but who she is. Her story, aka her street cred, is solid so when she speaks unapologetically about who and what she is, we nod with respect because we like to see one of us make it. Her life story is a real life Lemonade, a visual representation of all the wildest dreams of every hustler, male or female, trying to make it. She’s a relatable train wreck. College graduations are great but I enjoy watching the stage she is on too.

Who isn’t excited to see her transcend rap the way Kim K transcended her humble beginnings into an empire? Who knows what that’s going to look like and what doors that will open. The same knobs Nicki Minaj turned, Cardi can open with her platform.

I get it. Her messaging isn’t exactly positive right now. But she’s speaking from a place she’s been and a place she’s at. One day she will be like Jay-Z rapping about art we have never seen from places we haven’t been.

But for now, enjoy the journey with Cardi or stfu. She made hip hop fun again and we are rooting for her.

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