After crashing her site before it was even released, Cardi B’s new single “WAP” has become the focal point of memes, concern trolling, and general celebration as her video with Megan Thee Stallion gave everyone plenty to discuss.
However, what may have been a bit lost in all the debate about women’s empowerment and the Kardashian omnipresence is how vital Cardi’s symbolic passing of the torch has been for the women she chose to highlight in cameos in the “WAP” video.
While Kylie Jenner, Normani, and Rosalía are all stars in their own rights, newcomers Mulatto, Rubi Rose, and Sukihana received a huge boost in popularity thanks to Cardi’s co-sign, which we’ve already seen have a vitalizing effect on the careers of other women in rap like Chika, Kamiayah, Rico Nasty, and yes, even Megan herself.
It seems that the Highlander era for rap’s women is over; the unwritten rule among fans and industry execs is no longer “there can only be one,” but instead “there’s room for everyone.” Cardi herself even followed up to highlight each of her guest stars on her insanely popular Instagram. Now that the hype for “WAP’s” over-the-top video has somewhat died down, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a look at the three new rappers who appear in it and get to know the next wave of female rap stars taking the baton from Cardi.
Atlanta-bred Mulatto, despite being the youngest of the three guest rappers on “WAP” (by about two months, as her birthday is in December while Rubi’s is in October), is actually the longest-tenured by dint of her appearance on Jermaine Dupri’s Lifetime reality competition show The Rap Game when she was just 17 years old. Then known as Miss Mulatto, she became the series’ inaugural winner and spent the next few years grinding it out independently rather than taking the offered deal with So So Def. This may have turned out to be a smart decision; she signed to RCA Records this year after releasing a string of well-received EPs (which were somehow conveniently overlooked by JD when he made his infamous “stripper rap” comments).
Song You Should Know: “Muwop”
Although the song “B*tch From Da Souf” became her breakout hit and de facto calling card, her most recently released single “Muwop,” named for and featuring Gucci Mane, had an immaculate rollout earlier this month and showed that she could keep up with one of the best-known icons of Atlanta trap rap. For weeks, Mulatto teased the track with photos of herself reproducing some of Gucci’s most iconic looks and when it finally released, it more than lived up to the hype.
Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, Rubi Rose may actually be a familiar face to those with keen eyes; she was the starring role in the video for Migos and Lil Uzi Vert’s 2016 runaway hit single “Bad And Boujee,” hopping out of the BMW at the start of the video and flanking the rappers throughout. She later appeared on Playboi Carti’s leaked 2018 throwaway “On Top,” accompanied by rumors that the two were dating. However, her big viral moment came a year later with 2019’s “Big Mouth,” when her unique, gritty voice received attention on Twitter. Cardi even notes in her Instagram post highlighting Rubi, “You need a unique tone of voice when you a female rapper.”
Song You Should Know: “Hit Yo Dance”
While that unique tone netted her a deal with LA Reid’s rebooted Hitco Entertainment, it was her first single for the label that truly showed the 21-year-old’s star potential. With Hitmaka’s beat borrowing a loop from Birdman’s 2002 hit “What Happened To That Boy?” Rubi coolly out-raps guest NLE Choppa and shows a gift for confident wordplay and switching up her flow at the drop of a dime. Don’t sleep on her recent collaboration with Compton’s Day Sulan, “Big,” either.
Like Cardi B, Sukihana got her start of the reality show Love & Hip-Hop, appearing on the Miami-based version earlier this year. While the show hasn’t been much of a launching pad for its stars’ careers — really only Cardi has ever achieved mainstream notice since the show’s premiere in 2011 — Suki has popped up in videos semi-regularly for the past two years. Like Cardi, Rubi, and Mulatto, she built her following on social media, showing off her rhyme skills in freestyles posted to Instagram as she put out her own, self-financed music videos. Her most successful appearance to date came in 2018 alongside Texas rapper Cuban Doll in the video for “Drug Dealer.”
Song You Should Know: “Pretty And Ratchet”
As Suki’s spent the last two years polishing her skills, her latest is naturally her best. She sounds more confident than ever, with an improved flow that shows the attention that she pays to her craft. While the single flew mostly under the radar, that was more likely due to the glut of new female rappers popping up than any lack of talent or marketing on Suki’s part. Even Cardi comments on her growth, the sort of noticeable effort that suggests she won’t simply rest on her laurels now that she’s “made it.” She also has a quirky and unapologetic sense of humor and authenticity which will not only endear her to fans, but also serve her well in brushing off her inevitable haters.
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.