The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for Cardi B. Amidst the excitement of announcing her pregnancy and releasing her debut album (Invasion of Privacy), perceived similarities have sucked the Bronx-bred rapper into a “rap beef” with Nicki Minaj. Yet, during an interview on SiriusXM’s Whoolywood Shuffle, Cardi challenges the notion that she and Nicki are any more alike than their male counterparts.
“I see all these guys coming out at the same time, and most of them actually do sound alike. Sometimes I be like, ‘Who is this?’” Cardi said, explaining that these comparisons are based on gender rather than actual similarities. “It’s like, why you don’t do that to them? Why it got to be girls? Every rapper right now, like Nicki, Remy, me, some girls that’s on the come-up, it’s like, I don’t feel like nobody sound like each other.”
Yet despite this, fans have still found various ways to create a conflict between Cardi and Nicki – efforts that can only be credited to rap’s misogynistic roots. Because of the genre’s inherent sexism, hip-hop has created a “mold” of what it feels a woman rapper should be. This results in curators not taking the time to specify the structural differences between Nicki and Cardi, rather seeing them as mere sex symbols instead – a title that is not forced on the male MC when Method Man infamously refused to be labeled as a “sex symbol” and is still considered a legendary rapper.
This speaks to the lack of respect given to the woman rapper, forcing her to constantly defend herself in ways that make it appear a “beef” (like Nicki’s recent Zane Lowe interview). Yet, the barrier women face in rap can only be depleted if the bar is raised. Once critics see women as equal competitors then the women MC’s one-size fits all description will break.