Bodak Yellow (Money Moves), Cardi B’s summer hit, made history for the new artist by making her the most recent female rapper to hold down the top position on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The last song to accomplish this feat was Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop (That Thing) in 1998. The fact it has taken almost two decades for another female rapper to hold down the #1 position is a testament to how much of a man’s world Hip-Hop really is. The icing on the cake for many was that Cardi B managed to knock Taylor Swift to #3 (thanks to Post Malone). The #BeyHive and others recently accused Swift of jacking Queen Bey’s swag for her latest album.
If we place these two songs side by side a story emerges. Let’s say these two records are cultural snapshots of 1998 and 2017. Lauryn’s song was on The Miseducation album that won 5 Grammys. Cardi B’s song was released online and she is yet to release a solo album. Lyrically, Hill’s song is about Black relationships, how men and women set each other up, and how to “watch out” for suspicious behavior. Cardi B is spitting about her new life, her struggle as a dancer being over, and with new teeth. The video for Doo Wop was very creative and took us back in time. Bodak Yellow’s video is raw and a trip to the deserts of the Middle East. Both are incredibly amazing in their own ways.
The record has pretty much universal support and it’s good to focus on the fact that Cardi B joins Lauryn Hill on the #1 level, which is greater than the part about her toppling Taylor. She is now in the company of Lil Kim, Shawnna and Iggy Azalia, the only 5 women of rap to hold down the #1 position. The main difference is that Lauryn and Cardi are the only two to do it solo. Let’s watch and see how Cardi B’s album performs. Streaming music has killed the album in many ways, but Grammy gold could be waiting if there are follow-up songs that can do what “Ex-Factor” and “Everything is Everything” did.
From these comparisons, we see that in the last almost 20 years music is digital first, women tend to be focused on themselves over a relationship and the next generation is not reminiscing on the past because they’re “making money moves” instead. In the meantime, Lauryn is wrapping up her tour with Nas and Cardi B is getting her dentist crazy referrals.