19 August 2020

"WAP" by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion (2020)

I had been reading about this track - or more specifically the controversy surrounding it - for well over a week now.  But I had no intentions of actually researching it until I noticed that it not only reached number one, almost two weeks after its initial release, on the Genius popularity chart but also the Hot 100 itself.  That's when it became apparent that there may be more to WAP than just a momentary shock value.

The cover art to what may prove to be Cardi B's
greatest track ever, WAP (2020).

THE LYRICS

And in terms of the track's shock value, such would obviously began with the lyrics.  For instance there is a sample playing in the background during certain junctures of the song which repeats the phrase "there's some whores in this house".  And all things considered said "whores" would be a reference to the artists, who throughout present themselves as highly-sexualized (i.e. promiscuous) beings.  Indeed in this day and age women embracing their sexuality using traditionally less-than-flattering terms has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon.  But during one latter part of the song, at least in my opinion, said sample comes off as being a bit demeaning, as if it is mocking the artists, if you will.

Speaking of which many of the lyrics, at least on the version of the song I heard via its official music video, are more or less drowned out by the instrumental.  This was perhaps by design, as the visuals themselves are obviously intended to garner the majority of the viewer's attention.  But that being said, Megan Thee Stallion definitely comes off as a more-legitimate rapper than Cardi B.  And that's not an insult against the latter, as Cardi did not began in entertainment as a rapper.

And in terms of the this track's lyrical content, I know I have written about this phenomenon before, though perhaps not in this very blog.  But basically rap music is such that the lady artists have evolved to become female versions of their male counterparts.  So for instance just like dudes be bragging about their wealth, so do the females.  And just like how the male rappers tend to focus on their street credibility, the ladies too now do the same.  And so is the case with sexuality also.  So instead of say a man boasting about the size of his penis or what have you, in this case we have females bragging about their "wet-ass p*ssy" (acronym = WAP).  But it ultimately leads back the same idea of the artist being exceptionally good in bed.  And from a female perspective, as illustrated in Megan's first verse, such is always manifest in their ability to use their bodies to monetarily exploit men as well.  But like a quintessential male rapper, what this song primarily focuses on is just the artists' enjoyment of good sexual intercourse, and their partners in that regard pretty much being tools.

THE VIDEO

I don't want to go about over-analyzing the official video to WAP (embedded above, though I don't necessarily recommend watching it).  But what I will say is that it is the most-sexualized music video, that doesn't actually feature (hardcore) nudity, I have personally ever seen.  Moreover this is not a case of say images of strippers being interlaced with those of ugly-ass niggas throwing money at them.  No sir, WAP is almost entirely T, A and scantily-thonged crotches.  And it should be noted that there are also quite a few visual references to lesbianism.

Mary mother of Gad...

THE TEAM

Cardi B is arguably the most-successful solo-female rapper in the history of the industry.  And that's saying a lot considering that, as alluded to earlier, she took up the craft relatively late in life.

Megan Thee Stallion is a more-recent phenomenon.  I researched a couple of her songs in the past - including that crazy-ass Captain Hook (2020) sh*t - for another blog I worked on.  But prior to WAP she was actually making headlines more for a highly-publicized contract dispute and beef with a male rapper, Tory Lanez, as opposed to her music.  And for the record, this is the first time she dropped a track with Cardi B.

Megan "the Stallion" is seven inches taller than
her current rival, who happens to be a male,
fellow rapper Tory Lanez.

Meanwhile the artists behind the instrumental, Ayo The Producer and Keyz, are respectively from Florida and New York.  They often work as a unit, as they had on this song, under the collective name Ayo & Keyz.

The aforementioned sample was derived from a 1993 track, by some dude named DJ Frank Ski, called Whores in This House.  In fact the entire lyrical content of that song features him chanting "there's some whores in this house".  And whereas it has been noted that the track is somewhat of a classic, I personally never heard of it.  However my partner in crime, Seriez Premiere, has assured me that it is indeed an old-school banger.

The director of the music video to WAP is a dude named Colin Tilley.  And whereas that may not be a name most of us ever heard of, he actually has a sh*tload of music videos, in addition to a number of major-industry awards, already under his belt.  Indeed it can be said that the music video to WAP is more attributable to the track's success than the song itself.  In fact when WAP did appear on the Billboard Hot 100, it debuted at the number 1 position, which is a phenomenal feat.  Moreover just to note, WAP has already been certified Gold, and I think it's safe to assume that it will at least reach Platinum before all is said and done.  And lastly, the label that put this track out is the ever-present Atlantic Records.

CONCLUSION

Whereas the late-20th century wasn't necessarily the puritan days of American history, I still can't imagine being a teenager, turning on the TV and seeing a music video like WAP playing.  But with that established, I'm not about to go on some type of moralistic tirade.  Rather as I see it, the lyrical and visual content of this song are a sign of the times.  Moreover the music industry, as with entertainment in general, is such that shock value sells.  So neither Cardi B nor Megan Thee Stallion created this situation, i.e. female sexuality being openly used to lure audiences.  But they are the mainstream artists who, at the current moment, have the least reservations about capitalizing on it.