Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion awed fans with the new release of the increasingly popular and controversial single, WAP also known as (wet *ss p*ssy). A vibrant and hypersexual music video followed the release, featuring an extravagant set filled with live snakes, stripes, and even a Kylie Jenner cameo. Revolutionizing a new generation of female rappers, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have been able to produce a sex positive and empowering message to their listeners.
From a technical perspective, the song isn’t incredibly remarkable. It consists of a simple beat and a bassline with some occasional vocal effects. In addition, a sample of Frank Ski’s 1993 single, “Whores in This House” repeats in the background throughout the entirety of the song. The lyrics and vivacious energy that these two artists radiate are what really elevate the song. The chemistry between the duo is unmatched. Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B don’t just sing, they put on a show for their audience. It wouldn’t be a Cardi B nor a Meg Thee Stallion piece if they didn’t entertain fans with an over the top music video. Throughout the video, we see the two women navigating a fun house mansion and exploring various themed rooms. Leopards and cheetahs circle the two as they disclose their sexual desires. The video matches the song’s energy seamlessly and showcases these powerful women with a classic Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion flare.
Unfortunately, not everyone was so pleased about WAP. James P. Bradley, a republican candidate for congress tweeted saying he “personally takes offense to the lyrics” and, “Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion are what happens when children are raised without God and without a strong father figure.” This kind of backlash wasn’t uncommon and eventually instigated an online debate. It’s worth noting that there were no men featured in the music video and the song was female focused throughout. Despite this, many men took the song as an attack, thereby centering themselves in a conversation that was intended to empower women.
WAP has become well known due to its language, with lyrics such as, “I want you to park that big Mack truck right in this little garage,” and “Bring a bucket and a mop for this wet *ss p*ssy.” Although the vulgar language does stand out, if you zoom in and take a closer look, many of these lyrics work to reverse gender roles. For instance, Cardi B takes a jab at traditional gender stereotypes with lyrics such as, “I don’t cook, I don’t clean but let me tell you how I got this ring.” It is refreshing to hear a sexually explicit rap song that doesn’t confine women into a category of submission. WAP prioritizes the need for women to take initiative and ask for what they want.
As opposed to the majority of rap songs that blatantly perpetuate misogyny, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion produced something that not only combats misogyny but also normalizes female sexual pleasure and female dominance, two very stigmatized topics. The criticism that this song is facing is indicative of what is tolerated in the predominantly male rap industry. Many male rappers profit off of exploiting women through the degrading messages that they include in their songs. Artists such as Chris Brown, Rocko, and Snoop Dog continue to remain successful and unbothered, despite some of the extremely belittling language that they use in their songs.
This brings into question the motive of these WAP haters. When two successful and powerful women experiment with the language and style of music that has been normalized in the male rap industry, it provokes controversy. However, male rappers continue to get away with extremely disrespectful remarks towards women in their songs. Consumers must be cognizant of the media that they are digesting and reflect on how their own perception of something may be skewed based on stereotypes. It is critical to recognize that some slight discomfort when listening to WAP is only a fraction of what mainstream media does to women.
Overall, WAP is able to cover uncharted territory in the rap industry. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are paving the way for a new generation of female rappers to be more open about male dominated subjects in their music. The surging number of female rappers that have started to explore female sexuality in their songs provides hope for a future where sexually explicit rap music doesn’t always focus on men.