‘Bodak Yellow’ Is Trash, and if You Like It, Your Taste in Music Is Trash

Cardi B via YouTube screenshot
Cardi B via YouTube screenshot

I love Cardi B. I love everything about her. I love that she is aggressively real. I love that she is aggressively beautiful. I love that she is aggressively Cardi.


I had a sister who was killed a few years ago. She was Cardi B before Cardi B was Cardi B. Her name was Robin, but everyone called her “Big Shirley” after the unseen ghetto girl from the sitcom Martin. She was my best friend and probably made me laugh more than any human being on earth. The first time I saw Cardi B, I thought, “Who is this beautiful reincarnation of Big Shirley?”

But Cardi B is a terrible rapper.

That’s OK. Martin Luther King Jr. was a bad rapper. Harriet Tubman freed a thousand slaves, but her mixtape sucked. Even if you believe Jesus died for our sins, you must admit: He didn’t have bars.

And “Bodak Yellow” is objectively trash. There is no debate. Not everything is subjective—even if it is art. Some art is bad, no matter how much you like it. It is your right to like it, but that doesn’t make it not trash.

If you like Tyler Perry plays more than A Raisin in the Sun or believe a fish sandwich from Captain D’s is better than a New Orleans po’boy, that is your right. There’s nothing wrong with having terrible taste. But if we go out, you can’t choose the entertainment or the restaurant.

Here is the best part of the lyrics to “Bodak Yellow”:

Now she say she gon’ do what to who? Let’s find out and see
Cardi B, you know where I’m at, you know where I be
You in the club just to party, I’m there, I get paid a fee
I be in and out them banks so much, I know they’re tired of me
Honestly, don’t give a fuck ‘bout who ain’t fond of me
Dropped two mixtapes in six months, what bitch working as hard as me?
I don’t bother with these hoes, don’t let these hoes bother me
They see pictures, they say, “Goals,” bitch, I’m who they tryna be
Look, I might just chill in some BAPE, I might just chill with your boo
I might just feel on your babe, my pussy feel like a lake
He wanna swim with his face, I’m like, “Okay”
I might just feel on your babe, my pussy feel like a lake
He wanna swim with his face, I’m like, “Okay”


I don’t care about materialism and explicitly sexual lyrics. I listened to Biggie. I listen to Jay-Z. Therefore, I can’t have a double standard about that issue. My problem with the lyrics is that they are ... hold up while I think of a synonym for “shitty.” I feel like I’ve used that word too much.

OK, here’s one: They are submediocre. They are fucktastic. They are the stuff that you remove from between the layers before you roll a blunt. They are hot dog water. They are that gooey white stuff you clean off leg quarters before you cook them. They are the last bit of toilet paper that sticks to the roll and you don’t have any more toilet paper, so you stand there with no pants on like Donald Duck doing trigonometry trying to calculate whether it’s enough to wipe with.


“Bodak Yellow” is the Boo! A Madea Halloween of rap. It is the cold White Castle burger of hip-hop. If “Bodak Yellow” were a car, it would be a 1988 Ford Escort. If “Bodak Yellow” were shoes, it would be Walmart flip-flops. If “Bodak Yellow” were a fraternity, it would be Iota Phi Theta. And I’m not throwing shade at Iotas, because I have actually never met an Iota or seen an Iota step, and people tell me they can step pretty good, and say, “Iotas run the yard at ___, and they are really big out West, but no one really knows them here,” which is exactly my point.

Look, I am not trying to go all Joe Budden on today’s rappers because, truth be told, every generation likes shitty rap. I danced to “Whoomp, There It Is!” I will still dance to “Knuck if You Buck.” But I know they are terrible songs. They just appeal to my sense of nostalgia. Plus, I was probably either drunk or high the first 1,012 times I heard them. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I was too sober and lucid when I heard “Bodak Yellow.”


If we can agree that hip-hop is an art form, then we can agree that there are some who are more talented than others. Aretha Franklin can sing better than Ashanti. Misty Copeland can dance better than Mariah Carey. And everybody who ever existed can rap better than Cardi B.

I don’t have any problem with her celebrity. She is our Kim Kardashian. She is our Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton makes shitty music, too. Both became famous for reality shows and made millions from it. I’m not mad at Cardi B for becoming the black Paris Hilton.


And I love her to death. Did I mention that? Everything about her. That has nothing to do with me hating her music. It is entirely possible to be a beautiful human being inside and out and a terrible rapper.

My sister was a terrible rapper. And singer. And she loved to rap.  And sing. She couldn’t carry a tune if it came with handles and a cushioned grip. When she rapped, she sounded like she had just learned English and was practicing for a literacy test. It was awful. I loved her so much. I miss everything about her so much.


Except her rapping.

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.


Preston Mitchum

I love Cardi B! Everything about her - including her rapping. I actually wrote an article for The Root about her two weeks ago, lol. She raps hard in ways I haven’t heard from someone who has made mainstream (and who’s a woman artist). I don’t care if she’s the best rapper in the world. Her songs (including her two mixtapes) are funny, fun, catchy, and you can tell she enjoys making music. That’s what I love, especially from a Afro-Latina from the hood. And, on top of everything else, she’s experiencing success and that makes me smile. I can’t wait for more music and more success! #TeamCardiB