I remember this day quite clearly—the USC vs. UCLA game was not for another hour, and the weather was perfect, shining at 80 degrees. All of my new best friends I made that semester were surrounding me with champagne and smiles. Suddenly, every girl around me jumped in elation, and before I knew it, we were all shouting the lyrics to Cardi B's new hot single "Bodak Yellow". Whether the world wanted to admit it or not, Cardi B's debut single was the song of the semester, blasting at every party down the row. The clout-chasing lyrics and mesmerizing flow turned Cardi B into what seemed to be an overnight sensation. From the moment I spoke of my appreciation for "Bodak Yellow" at that tailgate, I realized how strangely divisive voicing an opinion about Cardi B is. Thanks to social media, the Invasion of Privacy rapper climbed her way to the top not only with a hot new single, but with a multitude of expressive Instagram, Vine, and later, Twitter videos. Exemplifying the negative effects that stem from utilizing social media as a stardom tactic, Cardi B's online persona has detracted our conversations away from her music, isolating her from artistic recognition.
While the general public would note her arrival into popular culture in 2017 with "Bodak Yellow", Cardi B originally emerged in 2014, rising to fame on platforms such as Instagram and the now late, Vine. The rapper took to these platforms to voice her opinions on a multitude of topics, ranging from politics and current events to sex stories and criticisms of men in a romantic context. This allowed her unfiltered persona to reach millions of people to groom them and collect their undying support for her rap career to come. Unfortunately, this in turn has caused the public's attention to detract from Cardi's artistic capabilities in music, displacing the limelight on her influence as a public figure instead. She even took to the platforms to speak about the trials and tribulations of her line of work at the time—stripping. These shocking, uncut videos paved the way for the soon to be MotorSport feature to land a spot-on VH1's Love and Hip Hop. Once again, Cardi displayed her brutally honest personality on another platform. In the eyes of music critics, pop culture journalists, and the general public, whether adoring fans or critical observers, this time in Cardi's life is often summed up by the overused phrase, her "stripping days". Regardless of how successful Cardi B's singles and album Invasion of Privacy became, it seems as though this loud, uncut, stripper archetype will never escape her.
Whether explicitly stated or transparent in the actions of critics (both acclaimed and amateur), it is clear that Cardi B is someone that will never be allowed to be taken seriously as a rap artist. Despite the groundbreaking movements in the past year alone, it seems that regardless of the attitude or the opinion, every conversation about Cardi B is inevitably flooded with opinions about her past, "idiocratic" merit, and place among only female artists. Due to the foundation of her fame resting on her utilization of an online persona, Cardi B has come to be one of the most underrated artists in rap music. In a more ominous context, Cardi's past, pairing with her former persona has proved to again negatively impact her music. While the past has negatively impacted the artist's music career, her past actions are now even more incriminating. Though big name celebrities have come to her defense, it is important for Cardi to note the traction that her persona has grounded in her reputation as an artist.