Azealia Banks is perhaps the most opinionated woman in rap. In the past six years or so, there hasn’t been a news story involving a female rapper without Banks’ final word or input involved. And so, on the day after the world celebrated Cardi B becoming the second solo rapper to reach the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, Azealia took to Twitter under a non-verified account under the handle @Cheapyxo she’s been using there and elsewhere since she was kicked off the social platform, not to offer praise for the Bronx born “Bodak Yellow” rapper, but rather to call her a “poor man’s Nicki (Minaj)” and suggest that colorism played a role in Cardi’s success.
In a series of now-deleted tweets, Banks went on to suggest that industry heavyweights such as Charlamagne Tha God and other black men in hip-hop should have pushed for records from her, Remy Ma and the aforementioned Minaj to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts before Cardi or Iggy Azalea.
Could it be argued that colorism played a role in Cardi’s success as Banks’ is alleging? Probably. Then again, the same argument was never presented when Missy Elliott’s “Work It” reached No. 2 in 2004 or when Minaj’s “Anaconda” reached No. 2 two years ago. But in this modern era where sales translate even further thanks to artist visibility, Cardi B flat out worked her way to a No. 1 record. No one in the industry “gave it” to her, especially not in a way to pit other female artists against one another and especially not when the pop music behemoth that is Taylor Swift held the top spot previously.
Cardi pushed “Bodak Yellow” through sheer will and it caught on as performed literally at any event that would have her and saw her single championed by everyone ranging from Drake to SZA to Janet Jackson.
The beauty of Cardi’s success is that everyone bought into a song about coming from nothing, fixing your teeth, paying your mom’s bills and ultimately finding happiness. I’m not one to consider it the second coming of “Juicy” but the premise of both songs is actually pretty similar. Is Cardi bothered by any of this? Well, of course not. On a day that felt like “graduation and prom rolled in one,” she took to Twitter to once more tell every hater that nothing could bring her down. Not even “sour patches.”
Even if Azealia wants to push a colorism argument, Cardi’s victory still breaks records, not just for black female rappers but Latina female rappers as well.