The first thing you need to know about Cardi B is that she is important. You may recognize her from “Hip Hop: New York,” her unforgettable social media presence or her role as meme queen.

She’s Blacc Chyna plus talent. The Bronx-born-and-raised MC dropped her second mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2 last Friday, and like its predecessor, it’s just that — Gangsta. Bitch. Music. Cardi by no means attempts to tame herself, forcing listeners to get on board or f off because, in the words of Cardi herself, “I only hold my tongue when I’m sucking dick” (for more on this subject, see here).

While no track on Gbmv2 can hold a candle to the hooks on “Lit Thot” or “On Fleek” from Vol. 1, Cardi successfully raises the musical bar, cutting the number of spoken-word skits from four to one, selectively choosing when to emphasize her humor and when to let the music do the work for her.

Opening with a sickly sweet, “Oh how you doin’? / Oh, I’m all right!,” she greets her fans on “Bronx Season” before dropping some of her flyest bars to date. Save for a couple throwaway tracks, the energy carries through the tenth and final track; “Pop Off” opens with a brief meditation on Cardi’s entire persona: “Them motherfuckers be like, ‘But what type of n****s will wife you?’ / My type of n****s will wife me! The type of n****s that like bitches that pop off and suck dick all day motherfuckin’ long, bitch!”

Cardi covers a wider range of styles on the second installment, leaning toward Travi$ Scott-esque trap on “Rollin,” or dance-hall vibes on “Back It Up,” which recall Rihanna’s omnipresent “Work,” a comparison in which Cardi comes up short, but, hey, at least this track doesn’t have Drake. The back-loaded delivery on “Lick” requires a stank face, and she lays down some lyrical chops, rhyming “thottery,” “lottery” and “Cardi B” on “Hectic.”

With so few female rappers reaching substantial prominence, Nicki Minaj comparisons almost make themselves. When she spits, “You sideline, I’m center stage / I don’t get involved with it / if it don’t make me cum or it don’t get me paid,” it’s at least vaguely reminiscent of Minaj’s titular style.. But while Minaj’s punchlines are cheekier than Cardi’s, she lives an A-list life in her matted Maybach, claiming “99.9% of these fuck boys can’t fuck me.” Cardi, on the other hand, will — quite literally — cut a dude for taking another bitch to Outback Steakhouse.

And that’s what drives her records: She’s an everywoman’s MC — a former stripper who loves making it rain in the club, praising her “getting-shmoney hoes,” asserting dominance by continuing to “flip the script,” bragging about her sexual experience and calling out every cornball in sight. Here’s to the next twenty million volumes.

 

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