Hip-hop is a genre born of scrapping, intense creativity, cultural pride, fighting your corner and hustling for success. Cardi B knows about all of those: as the best Cardi B songs reveal, the Bronx-raised rapper, real name Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, has experienced gang culture, abuse and conflict in her life. “Y’all gotta bear with me,” she raps on Best Life. “I been through some things.”
This history of Cardi’s personal demons means that when she raps on how great she is – as she frequently does – it makes you warm to her, because it feels like a defence mechanism. Those who deep-listen to her words find she builds a self-protective wall with them. Her vulnerability and her flaws are there when you choose to hear them, and this is one of the things that draws a wide variety of fans to her work.
She’s also a shit-spittin’ firebrand, feasting on those that cross her – her beefs recall the earliest days of hip-hop, when Roxanne Shante took down every rapper in her field of vision with undiluted rage. Cardi has said that she knows not everyone can relate to money, cars or expensive clothes, but “I know that every bitch don’t like some bitch, and it’s like, that’s what I wanna rap about”.
In her relatively short career, which has taken her from the reality-TV show Love & Hip Hop: New York to record-breaking status in the music industry, she has made an indelible impression, and her second album has been anticipated for several years now. While we wait, here are the 20 best Cardi B songs so far…
Listen to the best of Cardi B here, and check out our best Cardi B songs, below.
20: Drip (featuring Migos) (from ‘Invasion Of Privacy’, 2018)
Drip is a self-confident cavalcade, pulsating with excess. Featuring deep trap beats, it’s classic Cardi B, pumped full of humour and swag. The best line is when she tells herself to stay out of Gucci, because she’s about to run out of coat hangers. Not a problem too many of us share, granted, but it’s still nice to hear that she’s happy.