Cardi B‘s performance for the 2019 Grammys started out with a stone cold fakeout and went from elegant to straight-up ominous. The trademark piano from her single “Money” became a literal prop being played by a female pianist with a professional-grade mean mug after a misleading closeup seemed to suggest that Cardi had picked up a new skill. Of course, as the camera pulled away, it revealed the real-deal Cardi bedecked in a form-fitting, violet catsuit with a peacock-like fringe crowning out from around her. The vibe she gave off was almost supervillainous, or at the very least evil Disney queen, as she snarled and smoldered from atop the sparkling piano.
Cardi’s performance capped a massive breakout year for the 26-year-old rapper who actually performed alongside Bruno Mars at last year’s ceremony, delivering her ’90s-inspired verse on the remix of his Newjack swing throwback “Finesse.” Cardi blew up so much that she was able to turn down a performance with Maroon 5 for the Super Bowl’s halftime show, picking up a few Grammys nominations (for Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Best Rap Album, Best Duo/Pop Performance, and Rap Performance) of her own along the way. Her performance solidified her spot as one of rap’s biggest breakthrough artists.