A Think Piece || Cardi B and The Same Ol' Hip-Hop Debate
There’s been a lot of conversation lately about Rap and songwriters and it all stems from Rap’s new sensation Cardi B. The entire notion stems from the neither confirmed nor denied the idea that Cardi B doesn’t write any of her songs. The debate seems to rattle back and forth between is that being ok or a complete problem that the current hottest rapper in the game doesn’t have a pen game.
Cardi B has dropped the hottest album of 2018 so far, and she’s accomplished goals I’m sure she never even set for herself. Just recently she knocked Beyoncé out of two Guinness world records and had Nicki Minaj on the verge of tears in her Beats 1 Zane Lowe interview. All jokes aside Cardi B has become a force that can’t be touched, and seemingly impregnable (ok well Offset aside) to defamation but now the conversation has seemed to come back to bars and what it means to be an emcee. The argument from Hip-hop purist and haters alike hone in on the fact that Cardi B doesn’t deserve the praise and love she’s getting because she doesn’t actually write any of her raps. Can someone be the hottest rapper out and not actually be able to pen a rap?
Cardi B may not be the wordsmith behind her hit single Bodak Yellow or any of the tracks on her current album but does that really matter? Cardi wouldn’t be the first rapper to make it big off the songs of others. Many Rap artist before Cardi had songs written for them by others. Rappers such as Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Will Smith, Dr. Dre, Bow Wow, and many others have all had massive hits from songs they did not write. So what makes Cardi B any different? Perhaps it’s the idea that Cardi B may not be able to rap at all whereas others have shone that they actually have the skill to rap by some means such as freestyling or they started off their career rapping and that may be a key point.
There may be a stigma against Cardi B due to the fact that she didn’t start as a rapper and came into the game as an Instagram star that transitioned to Love and Hip-Hop and then comes this rap push. Whereas other stars may have come into the game with people writing their raps like, Bow wow, Foxy Brown, etc. and through that process learned to write and develop through those that wrote for them. Who’s to say that Cardi B won’t have the same growth?
Everyone wanna be a HipHop purist meanwhile you love mad artists who have “ghostwriters”...— OldMan Ebro (@oldmanebro) April 18, 2018
Legend has it..
*Rakim wrote Summertime for Will
*Run wrote for Curtis Blow
*Kane wrote for Biz
As fans of Hip-Hop, there is a natural right we have to check anyone that comes through and there is never a problem with that. Sometimes there has to be a reminder of the full picture because of the reality of how things are and how things got blurred and confused. So it’s always good to step back and take in the full scope of the situation before going in and that’s the point of this piece. I could have given my opinion on Cardi B but this isn’t for that it’s just a speed bump for those going full speed ahead. I could say Hip-Hop is changing just to say it and some would agree but that would be a complete lie. This aspect of Hip-Hop has always been here and it will always be here social media just bubbles up the conversation making it a bit bigger and a lot more convoluted then it needs to be.
Let’s wrap it up with this. Songs, for the most part, aren’t a solo effort and there are multiple pieces that make up that final product. For the sake of keeping this simple let’s simply say a song is a beat, the lyrics, the delivery and the engineering. If we look at it from this perspective then no one artist really does all of these things alone. There is always a team aspect. So maybe Cardi B doesn’t write she is still the vessel that is delivering the song. It’s her voice you hear carrying the cadence and delivering the words that may have been written for her. At the end of the day, Cardi B is Hip-Hop, period.