Despite the frigid temperatures that punished partygoers late Thursday night (Jan. 25) in New York City, the warm and vibrant atmosphere of the Warner Music Group’s Pre-Grammy Party blanketed those in attendance with enough heat to stave off the chill. After a strong 2017 that produced Grammy nominations from Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Lil Uzi Vert and Cardi B, WMG gleefully celebrated their winning streak by throwing a festive soirée for their staunch supporters and acclaimed artists.
The Grill proved to be a voluminous location as close to 650 people swarmed the three floor venue like fire ants in hopes of catching the night’s most anticipated performer, breakout rapper Cardi B. Before the Bronx firecracker lit the stage with her titillating performance, partygoers were treated with a bevy of finger snacks including meaty sliders, mozzarella sticks, mini crab cakes and more.
To quench their thirst, the Warner crew also offered up some alcoholic beverages named after their thriving artists, including the Lil Juicy Vert (raspberry, Blanco tequila, grapefruit, and lime), Bodak Bubbles, (champagne, sautérnes, elderflower, and grapefruit) and the Warner 75 (Hennessy vsop privilege, lemon, champagne and twist.
With drinks flowing and music blaring through the speakers for dance-happy executives, the cavernous venue reached capacity in less than two hours. Kelly Clarkson, Ciara, Gucci Mane, Janelle Monae, Lil Pump, Bebe Rexha arrived at the party in their finest party attire, jovial and ready to have fun with their contemporaries. While Clarkson and Ciara posed cheerfully for pictures, other stars like Rexha feverishly danced to the sounds of Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen.”
By 10:45, Atlantic Records’ chairman/COO, Julie Greenwood, graced the stage to introduce the “baddest woman in the game right now.” “She’s making history, she’s impacting the culture, she did it with her smash “Bodak Yellow,” without further adieu, Cardi B.”
Within seconds, the budding star leaped on stage and jumped into her sizzling verse from Mars’ “Finesse (Remix).” With two bodacious dancers in tow, Cardi’s magnetic appeal instantly had the crowd hooked. Clad in all-black, her infectious energy caught the eyes of everyone in the room, who joyously gazed at her.
After concluding her verse, Cardi paused, examined the crowd and said: “Everybody looks rich. So I’m gonna watch what I say,” drawing laughs. Following her brief commentary, Cardi jumped into her 2017 banger “Lick” sans Offset. Using the crowds’ energy as her fuel, Cardi zipped through her swaggering record with ease.
“It’s a long a week, man. It’s the Grammys. I hope a bitch takes one,” she quipped. “Let me take it to The Bronx,” she sang off key. Cardi’s funniest joke rang the loudest as she continued to entertain the crowd with her witty banter. “If I fuck up tomorrow, I can still go to the strip club” she declared.
With seamless precision, Cardi refocused and ran through her Billboard Hot 100 hits including her verses on G-Eazy’s “No Limit” and Migos’ “Motorsport.” Then, she returned back to her personal catalog and delivered a rousing performance of her newest single “Bartier Cardi,” which debuted at No. 14 earlier this month on the Hot 100.
Later, Cardi taunted labels who previously offered her a meager “$50,000 to $100,000,” saying that “they fucked up.” To punctuate her set, she dived into her magnum opus “Bodak Yellow,” leaving attendees hopeful about her performance and Grammy chances this upcoming Sunday (Jan. 28).
This story was first posted to Billboard.