From Righteousness To Ratchetness: Lauryn Hill & Cardi B Are The Only Two Female Rappers With A Top Hot 100

On Monday (Sep. 25), Cardi B landed her first no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100s with “Bodak Yellow,” which became an anthem of sorts during this past summer since its release in June.

With over 40 million US streams and 50 thousand downloads sold, Bardi has become the first female rapper to top the charts without the assistance of another credited artist since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998.

Artists such as Missy Elliot, Lil’ Kim, Ghostface Killah, Nicki Minaj, Lil Yatchy, Quavo and Offset from the Migos, and many more, reached out to Cardi B to congratulate her on her success via social media.

However, there has been one post in particular that has resonated in my mind that I believe deserves closer analyzation. Charlamange The God, co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club, posted a picture of Lauryn Hill alongside Cardi B comparing both MC’s.

Hill’s breakout solo single from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)” netted her two Grammys for Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance after topping the Hot 100s.

While the mid-90s saw Hip-Hop growing in corporate-level sales, from Bad Boy Entertainment’s flashy portrayal of riches to Nas’ rebranding of conscious project prophet to “Esco’s” elaborate drug tales, Miseducation had the effect of putting Hip-Hop on blast. Ms. Hill was a breath of fresh air amongst the egotistical male-dominated genre that was selling largely due to its “larger than life” personification. 

“Yo, my men and my woman/ Don’t forget about the deen/ Sirat al-Mustaqeem/ Yo, it’s about a thing”

In the song, Hill warns both men and women to avoid being exploited for “That Thing” and following the straight path instead. Lauryn Hill’s message comes from a place of genuine understanding that demands respect as a minimum between both sexes.

Comparing Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” one can say the motive is not too far removed from the intention. The “Love & Hip-Hop” star separated herself from the rest of her classmates because of her personality and charisma that was quickly captivated through her music. 

After two mixtapes, Gangsta Bitch Vol. 1 & 2, Cardi found her niche and took off running with it ultimately landing her on the Hot 100s as one of the four female rappers to ever to lead the charts including acts such as Lil’ Kim and Iggy Azelia.

“Say I don’t gotta dance, I make money moves/ If I see you and I don’t speak, that means I don’t f**k with you/ I’m a boss you a worker, b**ch, I make bloody moves”

“Bodak Yellow” is as brash as it is demanding. The Bronx MC embodies the flow of the “trap” rapper talking about wealth and multiple sexual partners, but instead Cardi puts a spin on it from the perspective of a female.

The song is very much an anthem for the ladies, demanding respect not just from men but from other females as well. Cardi B uses her newfound success and wealth to uplift women saying “it’s possible for you too as long as you put the work in.”

Cardi like Lauryn Hill uses her platform to empower all females alike.