For the past 15 or so years, countless rappers—Fabolous, Lloyd Banks, Joell Ortiz, French Montana, Maino, even Diddy—have released songs about “bringing New York back.” While the very idea of any one single artist or act returning the birthplace of hip-hop to its original glory is meaningless and cliché, it finally happened earlier this year—New York once again had the hottest, brightest, biggest superstar in rap following the release of Cardi B's debut album, Invasion of Privacy.
Cardi is well-aware of her stature. On her recent guest turn on Lil Yachty's new single, "Who Want the Smoke?" the 25-year-old raps:
"The fur on my shoulder mink / Tell me what Hov would think / I get money, I am the king of New York / And I rock a sew-in weave." Cardi, of course, is entitled to her own opinion, an opinion that is especially hard to deny after the Bronx native recently became the first female rap artist ever to earn two Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles. But, as is always the case when somebody not named Biggie Smalls lays claim to the NY rap throne, many took offense. The most vocal detractor was veteran New York mouthpiece Funkmaster Flex, who tweeted: “A below average rapper that doesn’t write could never be King of NY!" Did Dr. Dre, who has used writers his entire career, not craft multiple albums that were huge, pivotal moments in rap history? Would you claim Eazy-E is not an unassailable LA icon? Could you even argue for any rapper other than Drake being Toronto’s biggest star? Whether or not Cardi B wrote every syllable on her debut album barely factors into this discussion.
What makes one qualified to be considered the King of New York should hinge on three factors: star power, body of work, and sheer New Yorkness. Cardi B ticks all these boxes. #KingofNY
👑 || #CardiB100