Back in 2019, Cardi Bspoke out about the downside of being a role model, explaining: “For these past two years I been watching what I say and I haven’t been myself.” In a new interview with Billboard, the rapper reveals that she still feels the same way. “You gotta be careful with what comes out of your mouth,” she says.
“Am I a role model? I know I’m a role model because I know there’s a lot of women like me,” she adds. “At the end of the day, I know I’m a bitch that made it through because I work my ass off, not because luck fell on my thighs.”
However, Cardi also speaks more broadly about being a female artist in the current music scene. “I don’t want to be like, ‘Oh, female artists, we have it hard’,” she says. “But we do fucking be having it mad hard!”
She goes on to mention the competitive fanbases that often pitch musicians against each other with “fake beef”, but also points out that expectations for female artists’ behaviour are just generally too high. “They want you to be Mother Teresa, they want you to put out music, and they want you to look a certain way.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Cardi suggests that working hard and fighting for justice, and rapping about sex shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. “I’m a very sexual person. I love sex, and I like to rap about it,” she says. “I’m not hurting nobody because I love my pussy and want to rap about it.”
In line with that idea, she’s collaborated with Megan Thee Stallion on the NSFW single “WAP” this year, but also interviewed both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden (ahead of his US election win). She’s also hit back at criticisms from multiple conservative politicians and commentators, including Candace Owens, who called her “dumb” and “illiterate” after the Biden interview.
“I want to show people that you can do positive things,” Cardi concludes, “but you can also be yourself.”