Why Cardi B Highlighted the Misogyny in Hip-Hop

Cardi B had a pointed message for her male counterparts in a recent cover story for Elle: Male rappers need to do more for Black women. Speaking in a similar vein with the Breakfast Club, City Girls called out in hip-hop the apparent rivalry between the sexes. The artists jointly make an significant statement about an age-old question in the rap game — that female rappers really have no fair status in a genre they helped to create.

The criticisms of Cardi were directed at the handling of Breonna Taylor ‘s murder by the hip-hop community. The “WAP” singer was one of the people who used their influence to educate the public and seek justice for the police-murdered Black woman. Despite no arrests yet made, more than 150 days since Taylor ‘s death, Cardi B is placing pressure on male rappers to carry the same energy.

“A woman like Breonna Taylor, she was young,” she told Elle. “She looked like she was listening to your music. She looked like she was your fan. You should stick up for her.”

However, this is about more than just what has happened in the past months. Rap is still very much a male-dominated space, and many men in the industry are unwilling to give up those privileges, while their female contemporaries are encouraged to tear their rivals down. This “just one” hypothesis came to a head in 2018, when competition between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj presented itself in a physical scuffle following months of media instigation and conjecture.

Speaking about the feud with Complex, Cardi acknowledged that she was just a pawn in the game pitting women against each other. “I feel like people wouldn’t even be satisfied if me and [Nicki] was making out on a freaking photo. I just feel like people want this drama, because it’s interesting.

Rappers like Cardi B, Little Simz, Flohio, Nicki Minaj, Rico Nasty, and Leikeli47, despite the lack of support, are changing an industry and a genre that has kept women at bay, seemingly never spacious enough for more than one woman at a time. Where once sneak disses and feuds filled the landscape, women are changing the narrative by supporting rather than competing with each other.

With the toppers of recent history-making list, female rappers are painstakingly demanding their rightful place with the boys in the industry, shoulder to shoulder. Yet according to rap duo City Girls, this move hasn’t made the industry very welcome.

“Men is just threatened by the women dominating right now, because they are used to being in control of putting women on records, and now women are starting to team up and do it without them,” JT said during an interview. “Now they got so much to say, because back then you had to get on a hot song with a man to go No. 1 or even chart, but now women are doing it themselves.”

JT ‘s comments were in reference to Cardi’s and Megan Thy Stallion’s criticism for their recent single, “WAP.” Short for “Wet Ass Cunt,” the ensuing loss once again highlighted women’s unequal expectations of rap, where they are forced to pander to the male gaze while also being mocked for showing their own individuality.

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