Cardi B. covers the September 2020 issue of ELLE magazine photographed by Steven Klein and styled by Kollin Carter.
It feels like a lifetime ago, given the breakneck pace of the news and the steady erosion of our political system, but it has only been a year since rap lightning rod Cardi B sat down with Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders in a Detroit nail salon in the summer of 2019…Her decision to sit down with the senator immediately courted controversy, turning the comments section of her Instagram into a battleground of dissent. Nearly every time she speaks on such topics, a rush of online naysayers balk at the self-described “regular degular schmegular girl from the Bronx” making a foray into politics: “You need to stick to rapping, sis, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about,” one commenter wrote…But as Cardi declared in the 2019 song “Clout,” “Public opinions from private accounts / You not a check, then you gotta bounce,” referring to the verified check marks on social media platforms. Which is to say, Cardi will not be quieted by bots, avatars, critics, or trolls.
On Trump and why she wants him out of office: “Those people that he caters [to], he’s not going to do anything for them. It’s not like Republicans are getting better housing. It’s not like Republicans are getting better benefits. They’re not. He’s not doing anything for anybody. He’s just saying things that appease the same people. I want a president who makes me feel secure. I want a president who understands the pain of the people. I want a president who is going to give us answers. That’s why I like [New York governor Andrew] Cuomo. I like him because he makes me feel like he’s listening to me.”
On Breonna Taylor’s death: “That is so insane to me. [I saw] Breonna Taylor’s name everywhere, but I didn’t really know her story. What they did to her is really f**ked up. Really f**ked up. What’s the excuse? Why is the cop not in jail? Wasn’t what he did a crime? It’s a crime! And no apology. No apology. No video of the cop coming out crying, ‘I f**ked up. I don’t this. I don’t that.’ Nothing. It’s nothing. I don’t even know how her mom still holds her head up. Unbelievable.”
On wishing more male rappers would speak out about Breonna Taylor: “A woman like Breonna Taylor, she was young. She looked like she was listening to your music. She looked like she was your fan. You should stick up for her.”
On her new album: “My music is always going to make a woman feel like a bad b**ch. When you make a woman feel like she’s the baddest b**ch in the room, to me, that’s female empowerment. But this album is going to be really different. Of course, it’s going to have my Lemonade moments, my personal relationship moments…I didn’t really like how my last song performed, so I just got my creativity back. I don’t want to just put out a single and have people buy it because I’m Cardi. I want to put out really good music.”
On her relationship with her husband, Offset: “I don’t really like talking about love much, but I feel like I have to do it, just because I want people to know a little bit. There’s always rumors about me and my husband, and I feel like people would rather start rumors because they want me to be heartbroken. They want me to be hurt. I do know that my relationship has a lot of drama and everything. But there’s a lot of love, there’s a lot of passion, there’s a lot of trust, there’s a big friendship. It’s always us against the world. If you all are so curious to know about my relationship and blah, blah, blah, I’m going to put it in the f**kin’ music, and you can buy it, too. I’m not going to give it to you all for free.”
On her supposed ghost account leading to the viral hashtag #CardiBIsOver: “I cannot believe 73 people are trying to cancel me over a lie. Can you imagine me having a fake Instagram account to talk s**t about different artists that I don’t even think about? I’m 27 years old, you know what I’m saying? I’m 27 years old and I have big bills, big responsibilities, and a kid who’s on my a** a lot. If I don’t f**king like somebody, I am going to let them know I don’t f**king like them, or I don’t f**k with them, or I’m not feeling their energy. I’m not going to make a fake Instagram trolling artists, talking s**t about artists. Are you crazy?”
On her constant cancellations: “It’s like I have a target on my back, but it’s not because of my music. Because I haven’t done music for eight months, and people still try to attack me. I feel like people are attacking me because they want me to feel the pressure of bullying, and they want me to give up, and they want me to say, ‘Oh, I quit music’ or ‘I’ll delete my Instagram, delete my Twitter,’ and I’m not willing to do that. No one will ever have that much power [over] me.”
The issue hits newsstands on September 8th.
[Photo Credit: Steven Klein/Elle Magazine]
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