The artist adds that the track threatens men who think they own sex
Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B’s “WAP” managed to annoy a lot of people this year with lines such as: “spit in my mouth, look in my eyes,” and “put this pussy right in your face swipe your nose like a credit card”. Especially the dweeby conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who disapprovingly read out the lyrics in a now-viral YouTube video. “POV: Your grandpa is reading your texts,” one user commented.
Megan Thee Stallion has repeatedly found herself having to explain why the track drew criticism from so many, including Tiger King’s Carole Baskin, who condemned the “WAP” video for “glamorising” the idea of rich people having tigers as pets. Speaking to GQ, the artist said: “Some people just don’t know what to do when a woman is in control and taking ownership of her own body. I feel like for a long time men felt like they owned sex and now women are saying, ‘Hey, this is for me. I want pleasure. This is how I want it or don’t want it.’ It freaks men the hell out.”
The singer, who has four Grammy nominations this year, added: “It just comes from a place of fear and insecurity, like why would anyone be mad about my WAP? It belongs to me.” Cardi B also came to the song’s defence earlier in 2020 when she claimed that the people it mostly bothers are “conservatives” or “really religious” people. “The thing is, I grew up listening to this type of music,” she said. “Other people might think it’s strange and vulgar, but to me it’s almost like really normal, you know what I’m saying.”
“WAP”, which had the most-searched lyrics on Google this year, seemed to cause controversy every other day after it came out. Republican Senate candidate James P Bradley said that he had to “pour holy water in (his) eyes” after he heard it “accidentally” shortly after its release, while Kylie Jenner’s cameo in the video demanded a Change.org petition to have her removed after some claimed it reinforced the idea that white women do the bare minimum to get somewhere. “Not everything is about race,” Cardi B responded.
The disputes, however, do not detract from its artistry, and the track was named best song of the year by many publications including Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and NPR. In the Dazed 20 best tracks of 2020 it came in at number three, missing out only to the brilliant “My Family” by Pa Salieu, and Shygirl’s “Freak”.
In a recent interview with Dazed, Blondie’s Debbie Harry praised the song’s ability to shock and entertain at the same time: “One of the most exciting things about rock’n’roll was that it was about breaking the rules, and (“WAP”) is certainly a part of that. It’s titillating and aggressive and it is part of what is exciting about popular music.”