Hip-hop is the nation’s most popular genre, from underground house parties in New York, where rappers and MCs would display their capabilities through a devilish delivery, worthy of snatching the breath from your body. Over the past thirty years, rappers have ascended into modern-day rock stars; sold out stadium tours, overt interactions with the law, and for City Girls and Cardi B; the assimilation of popular phrases like, “Okurrr”, and “Periodt” into America’s vernacular.
Their cultural influence was felt among concertgoers on Saturday (June 22) at Staples Center for BET Experience as fans armies like the Bardi Gang and City Girls transformed the venue into an old school kickback, as they went word for word with their favorite rappers.
Snatched waists, icy gold chains, furs, and the occasional twerk from a group of aunties, (they turned BET Experience into a millennial’s version of Girls Trip); featured fashions from the night resembled one of Cardi’s promotional shots for her Fashion Nova campaign. The diverse composition of fans provided evidence about Cardi and City Girls longevity in hip hop, despite claims about the womxn rappers only be worthy of “15 minutes of fame.”
“Hit ’em with that wet wet, I put a ring on it for a check check,” Yung Miami started her twenty-minute set with a live performance of “Soakin Wet “with Atlanta-based rapper Marlo, as fans witnessed the City Girl demanded the stage, twelve days after her pregnancy announcement. Followed by a live performance of “Throw Fits,” a Bounce-inspired summer anthem with G-Eazy, who performed his verse alongside Miami, and gave her a hug, an acknowledgment from the Oakland rapper, who exited the stage, as murmurs of “Act Up” quietly thumped in the background. “Shout out my bad b***hes in b***h! Who got two phones; one for their suga daddy, and one for they shoota. Free JT, QC until I die,”
Miami’s closing statements as she transitioned into the set’s closer, “Act Up.” Decked in a blue satin crop top, and high waisted tiger pants, Miami squashed rumors about her inability to rock the City Girls brand as an expecting mother with a “PERIODT,” and prepped the audience to secure their frontals for Cardi B’s headlining performance.
“I waited my whole life just to s**t on ni***s. Climbed to the top floor so I can spit on ni***s”, the Grammy award-winning rapper proclaimed her seat as one of the hardest working professionals in the game, among a packed stadium, and started her sixty minute set, with a South Bronx energy, that backed her up claims as “King of New York.” From pouring water on herself during “PRESS”, jumping on top of the stage’s speakers for “Money”, and an intermixed medley of throwing ass, twerking, and grinding on stage; her utilization of the stage is reflective of Cardi’s beginnings as a dancer, because every eye in the Staples Center were fixated on the rhythmic movements of Cardi on stage.
“This is for all the bad b***hes in the building. I did it for the bad b***hes, and you ugly a** b***hes too,” as she performed verses from charting singles, such as “No Limit,” “She Bad,” “Money Bag,” “Motorsport,” and “Thotiana.” A solo performance, Cardi’s presence engulfed the arena, and went non-stop in calling out haters in “Wish Wish.”
The self-described “ brightest motherfuckin star,” backed it up with, “All of that talk and I’m calling it out, Public opinions from private accounts, You not a check, then you gotta bounce” from “Clout,” her collab with hubby Offset.
Mixed throughout the set are essential comedic moments from the rapper, such as a little dance to her repeating “I ain’t going to jail. F**k you mean. I ain’t going to jail” after being charged with 14 counts, dancing like an auntie at the cookout to “Finesse,” and camp-inspired moments of fake tears to emotional standbys, “Ring” and “Be Careful.” The Cardi B experience closed with “Bodak Yellow,” the second song to top Billboard Hot 100 since Ms. Lauryn Hill, is a Cinderella ending to Cardi’s show, a living testament to the rapper’s growth and development in the game, since its release date, two years ago.
In the beginning, music industry executives categorized hip hop as a short-lived phenomenon that scheduled to fade away as its content was too explicit and lacked the range to establish fan bases outside of the boroughs of New York. Similar to Cardi and Yung Miami, hip hop’s 15 minutes of fame will never be up, and thirty years in the future, attendees will still be playing the female rapper’s discographies at family cookouts, a testimony to Cardi and City Girls’ longevity.