Historically speaking, hip-hop has maintained a disposition toward misogynistic sentiments and exclusion of the female artist. For years, music executives and gatekeepers were explicit with their stance against the female lyricist. Most of the time, women are forced to work twice as hard just to get half as much recognition in the hip-hop industry. Enter two unrelenting women, Young M.A. and Cardi B who remain steadfast in their pursuit of hip-hop royalty. Oh, and they aren’t shy on recognition, by any means.
Young M.A. (Katorah Marrero) became a powerful presence in the hip-hop industry following her version of Lil Durk’s “Chiraq.” The video titled, “Brooklyn” received notoriety in 2014 thanks to Dr. Boyce Watkins. Watkins’ commentary on the song caused its virality with his critical analysis of the catchy freestyle. Watkins ire stemmed from his belief that Young M.A. glorifies violence and brutality too often in her music.
Statistically speaking, why would Young M.A. choose to rap about different substance matter, though? Watkins made a few valid points, but unbeknownst to him, hip-hop heads prefer “rough and tumble” scenarios especially from a New York artist. Take for example, Young M.A.’s idol, 50 Cent’s premiere album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Hip-hop audiences widely resonated with this masterpiece of an album because it showcased a genuine comeback story with bits of lyrical retaliation and graceful karma sprinkled throughout. As far as Young M.A. is concerned, she will create her music without distractions in accordance with her motto, “Me Always.”
Staying true to self and distraction-free ultimately led Young M.A. to maneuver independently. She handles all management issues, productions and marketing with her RedLyfe (Repent Everyday) team. Through her uninhibited lyricism, Young M.A. dismisses the necessity of formality and intimacy. As a teen, Young M.A. revered Eve, also known as the “pitbull in a skirt” and paid close attention to her collaborations with the Ruff Ryders. “Sleep Walkin” emerged in November of 2015 and the subsequent release party sold out the historic Webster Hall venue.
Half a year later, M.A. announced her official deal with “Duck Down Records” live from B.B. King Blues Club on 42nd Street in Times Square. At the time, she had been developing tons of new material and her Red Lyfe team members encouraged her to compile an album. But, there was a resilient urge within M.A. that drove her to drop the song of Summer 2015 five days after signing with Duck Down.
“OOOUUU” immediately skyrocketed to viral status and rivaled the popularity of Bobby Shmurda’s bouncy hit single from the previous summer. Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot” and Young M.A.’s “OOOUUU” are often compared due to similar BPM rates and the sensational effect that captivated their respective audiences. According to the RIAA, “Ooouuu” currently hosts three million certified streaming units to date.
Since the triumph of, “OOOUUU” Young M.A. has become a cultural icon for all aspiring artists. Additionally, she has been able to express herself through a variety of different landscapes. She found herself imparting wisdom via Lisa Evers FOX News platform. M.A. performed as an opening act on both Beyonce’s “Formation” and 21 Savage’s “Issa” tours. “OOOUUU” has since gone double platinum and formed one of the most unlikeliest of trademarks. If that wasn’t enough Young M.A. received nominations for the VMA’s and BET’s “Best New Artists” categories in conjunction with a nomination for BET’s “Best Female Artist.” Clearly, this “Kween” does not lack in any department of hip-hop ‘herstory.’
Never lacking, Cardi B’s “money moves” have captivated our entire universe. Relatable “ratchet” videos that displayed Cardi’s realism and humor led to the cultivation of a strong social media following.
Thereafter, Cardi (Belcalis Almanzar) joined the cast of Love&Hip Hop where she showcased her grand persona, exotic appearances and catch-phrases such as, “Foreva.” Her antics coupled with her indestructible self-confidence boosted Cardi’s cultural capital in a major way.
Cardi B’s persuasive tactics have galvanized the masses and much of this can be attributed to the absolute heater of a hit single, “Bodak Yellow.” On this track, Cardi demonstrates the ability to “body your favorite rapper’s flow” and she performs the role with ease. Cardi is a conqueror of her critics, she is gracious, carefree and continues to shamelessly carve her own path.
Streaming is Sizzling
In the modern era, streaming has officially toppled piracy. The main cost for a streaming platform is the rights to a song which scale in proportion with the user’s base audience. Once Cardi’s hit landed on Apple Music’s “A-List Hip-Hop Playlist” it saw a 125% spike in streams, in just one week.
Cardi is just one of many dominant artists who have stimulated the growth of streaming services. There has been quite the synergy between streaming and hip-hop in particular. Streaming has upended business strategies, prompted bidding wars, and challenged the assumptions of what type of output (mixtape/album/playlist) to expect from an artist.
Goldman Sachs predicts that global revenue from music streaming will climb to $28 Billion by 2030. One of the most utilized streaming services amongst artists goes by the name of Bandcamp. Their model offers streaming, downloads and physical sales, for which the pricing is set by the artist, who get 85% of the revenue.
Hip-Hop and R&B music contributes to 29% of on-demand streams and generates seven out of every ten songs on all streaming platforms. Cardi B and Young M.A. have fully participated and become acclimated within the genre that contains the longest shelf life.
“Got a bag and fixed my teeth, hope you hoes know it ain’t cheap.”
Cardi B’s success has trickled down to nearly everyone who surrounds her. Doctor Catrise Austin, known as the “Queen of Smiles” recently did some reconstructive work on Cardi’s teeth. Since knowledge of the operation has been made public, her business has tripled its net worth. Clearly, Cardi B has accumulated many types of viral currency.
“It’s just familiar enough to catch your ear, but just off-kilter enough to stick there.” (Wired on BY)
Unabashed and Assertive
Cardi B symbolizes how the circles of permission have expanded within the genre of hip-hop. She proclaims natural sexual agency and conveys any type of message that she desires. When she asserts her sexuality, she is brash, bold and boisterous. She stays true to her personal code, and represents a vast capacity of empowerment.
As of the week ending August 17, 2017 Bodak Yellow accrued fifteen million Apple Music streams. The biggest feat for Bodak Yellow arrived on the day it eclipsed number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This achievement signified many firsts for Cardi.
She became the first Dominican woman to ever reach #1 and only the fifth female ever. She rose to the occasion as the first artist since Lauryn Hill to ascend to #1 without any features. Bodak Yellow is certified gold and (along with Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1&2) earned Cardi nine different BET Award nominations.
Since her meteoric spiral into the limelight Cardi has signed to Atlantic Records which is currently the top ranked music label based on market share. She also performed live at Drake’s OVO Fest and Hot 97’s Summer Jam. As of this moment, Bodak Yellow has stockpiled nearly 96 million streams.
Featured Writer: Ian Romaker