Cardi B is the latest cover star for Billboard, being named the publication’s 2020 Woman of the Year.
For the feature, the rapper sat down for a Skype interview with Billboard’s hip-hop editor to talk all about her smash-hit single, “WAP,” her activism, raising a daughter, and how her thoughts on social media have changed over the years.
“I don’t know if I’m an activist. I’m a Libra — we are the justice sign. I like fairness, and I have compassion toward everybody. This is the type of person that I’ve always been,” Cardi said when asked if she considers herself an activist. “When I was a stripper, I posted the same s**t that I post now. I was doing marches in Harlem. But I don’t want people to think, “Oh, she’s an activist.” There’s people out here that really go off and beyond, like a Tamika [Mallory] or Shaun King, who go out of their way to really help. I feel like those are activists. I don’t want to take away from what they are. I just want to be a person with a platform that believes in good.”
As for her thoughts on social media, the rapper’s views are a little bit different than they were a few years ago.
“I’m always gonna love social media because I came up from social media. If it wasn’t for me showing my personality on social media, I wouldn’t be where I’m at,” she explained. “I would probably be a stripper owning a laundromat because that’s what I wanted to do when I was a stripper. If I didn’t voice my feelings, I would probably be one crazy b***h on drugs. I don’t do drugs; I smoke a little cigarette here and there, drink a little wine and Hennessy in the club, but those drugs I don’t do.”
She continued, saying, “But social media is becoming a very toxic place nowadays. There’s a lot of race-baiting. People will say the nastiest things just so they can have a top comment. The comments weren’t like this back in 2013.”
As for her career, Cardi has made a whole lotta money moves throughout 2020, like her deals with FashionNova, Reebok, and most recently, OnlyFans. The rapper attributes these moves to becoming more business-savvy and making sure she doesn’t sell herself short.
“These past several months, I have become more business-savvy. I just hired somebody that runs a big business to hire other people to review my [deals]. I’m telling you, there’s gonna be bigger changes,” she explained. “A lot of these companies, they want to give you a couple million dollars to represent them, and it’s like, ‘OK, but what am I really getting out of it?’ If 1% of my followers buy your product, you’re going to make triple what you’re paying me. I’m making sure I’m not selling myself short. I’m making sure people are reviewing s**t right.”
She continued, “It’s a lot of game that I have learned. Slowly but surely, I know I’m gonna get better. I know the value I bring to a company, and that’s one thing artists have to understand. I feel like in 2021 I’m gonna come up real strong.”
Julie Greenwald, the chairman/COO of Atlantic Records also spoke on Cardi’s success with Billboard, saying, “Cardi’s entire evolution has been driven by a singular, unswerving vision she has for herself — who she wants to be, what she wants to accomplish and where she wants to be at every point in her career.”
According to the labelhead, when Cardi’s longtime A&R executive Brooklyn Johnny brought her to Atlantic almost four years ago, “she was already a superstar-in-waiting,” Greenwald continues. “There was no question that her talent, her charisma and her determination would make her a musical and cultural icon.”