One of my favourite celebrity profiles of the year was Allison P. Davis’s piece for New York Magazine on Cardi B. It delightfully captures Cardi’s rags-to-riches come-up while also giving a delicious glimpse into the whimsical mind of rap’s brightest breakout star. If you haven’t read it, you should and if you have, it’s worth revisiting. The NY Mag piece opens with Cardi B practicing her lines before her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. This week, Cardi sat down with the Lesser Jimmy (Fallon) and landed another big profile, this time for Billboard.
Let’s start with the Fallon interview. Jimmy Fallon is not a strong interviewer. He basically just compliments and giggles and stutters his way through every conversation. It was somewhat charming until he did it with Klan President and normalized a bigoted buffoon right before he was elected leader of the free world. #NeverForget. If you’ve ever seen Cardi B in an interview, you know that she is a comedic genius who radiates charisma. A doormat could be interviewing Cardi and she’d still be exceptionally entertaining. Fallon’s job here is to just lob questions at Cardi and wait for her to hit a ball of joy across the studio and through our screens. He didn’t suck at that job, I guess. Judge for yourself below.
“You wanna know something?” Oh my god, I love her so much. This year we fell in love with Tiffany Haddish as a late night guest. I think Cardi B just came in a close second. Here’s what I love about her: she knows exactly what she’s doing. The comedic timing is flawless. When Jimmy tried to imitate her, Cardi’s just-smile-politely-at-the-dumb-dude face was pitch perfect. Of course, we already knew this but holy sh-t, she’s such a STAR.
One of the reasons Cardi B is such a star is because of her infectious authenticity. The Billboard profile puts it nicely:
But to paraphrase a Jezebel recap of Love & Hip Hop, she seemed real in not one, but two worlds -- social media and reality TV -- that are so often blatantly fabricated.
Cardi B managed to cut through the BS of two of the most faux-sincere mediums to shine through with what she tells Billboard is called, “genuine-tivity.” Few stars have this quality. You can’t teach “genuine-tivity.” Cardi B has had the incredible 2017 that she has because of this quality and because of the WORK.
“This is my work ethic: I do not want to raise my future kids where I was raised, and I know the only way to do it is working, working, working, working, working. I don’t want to live in a small Bronx apartment. I don’t want to have three kids that got to share one room. I don’t want my kids to go to school and get gang-affiliated. I don’t want to do welfare. I don’t.”
These goals almost feel too small. Cardi B is the first solo female hip-hop artist to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts since Lauryn Hill. Her engagement ring is the size of my fist. It doesn’t seem plausible that the person who gave us Bodak Yellow would ever have to live on welfare. It seems silly that Cardi B is still working towards her future kids not having to share a room. But aren’t these the things every regular person worries about? The impressive thing about Cardi B’s work is that she’s not striving towards lofty ambitions of grandeur, she just wants to make that “shmoney” for her offspring (with Offset! HA). She’s not shy about chasing money. She’s also not shy about defending her worth. There are some people (who are you and why do you hate joy?) who don’t think Bodak Yellow deserves its accolades. Cardi’s response exudes “genuine-tivity.”
“I hate that people are trying to make excuses as to why it went No. 1. You know why?” Cardi says. “Because every time you hear it, your pussy pops. Your dick, it get up. Stop trying to discredit it.”
So, now the question becomes, can Cardi deliver another pussy poppin', get your dick up hit? She just released Bartier Cardi featuring 21 Savage last night. Did she deliver?
You can read the full Billboard profile here.