When rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion announced their song “WAP,” the whole world was excited for Cardi B’s first release of 2020. Breaking the internet with the most U.S. streams ever in a female song’s debut week, “WAP” soared right up to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
“WAP” is about women being proud of and taking control of their sexualities. With very suggestive lyrics, the two rappers go very much in depth about their sexual desires.
The music video, featuring only women, takes place in a mansion where statues of female figures are on display and features cameos by other influential female celebrities, such as Kylie Jenner, Normani and Roalía. The two rappers, alongside an army of backup dancers, wear very revealing lingerie and dance suggestively in different themed rooms for each verse.
This song is about female empowerment, which unsurprisingly led to criticism from men pouring in upon its release.
Male singer, rapper and songwriter CeeLo Green was quick to attack the thorough description of sex from a female perspective in the song in an interview with FarOut Magazine. “A lot of music today is very unfortunate and disappointing on a personal and moral level. There was once a time when we were savvy enough to code certain things. We could express to those it was meant for with the style of language we used. But now music is shameless, it is sheer savagery,” Green said.
Green may not be supportive of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion not being “savvy enough” to use euphemisms to express their sexual feelings like he claims he was when he started his career, but Green has a deep history of using sexual innuendos in his music.
In his 2001 song “Sexual Chocolate,” Green raps, “Hush your mouth while I break it down / See what you do is find a freaky little thang / Talk to her, take her out on the flo’ / Then you grind ’til your body catch fire / Talk nasty or nice and slow / You say, ‘Come here’ and talk softly in her ear.”
In “Necromancer,” a 2006 song released by Green’s music duo group Gnarls Barkley, the group sings about drugging a woman unconscious, then proceeding to sexually assault her. “I’m compassionate about killing her / I’d have my way with what’s left of the will in her / Cosmopolitans and cocaine and an occasional pill in her,” the duo sings.
Six years after rapping about drugging a woman in order to sexually assault her, Green was accused of giving a woman an Ecstacy pill without her knowledge on a date in 2012. The woman claims she woke up naked in a bed in Green’s hotel room the next day without memory of the night before. Green claimed the encounter was consensual, but it was the scene he rapped about six years earlier that led to three years on probation and 360 community service hours.
Later in the FarOut interview, Green further criticized another Black female rapper, Nicki Minaj, for using descriptions about sex and sexual feelings in her music. “You have the ‘Heads of State,’ like Nicki Minaj or someone who is up there in accolade: success, visibility, a platform to influence. Nicki could be effective in so many other constructive ways, but it feels desperate,” Green said.
After the Minaj name drop, Green called out the two “WAP” rappers by name as well, comparing them to Minaj. “Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, they are all more or less doing similar salacious gesturing to kinda get into position. I get it, the independent woman and being in control, the divine femininity and sexual expression. I get it all. It comes at what cost?” he said.
American conservative media host Ben Shapiro was also quick to come for the two rappers in a Twitter post which was posted three days after the release of “WAP.”
In his Twitter post, Shapiro expressed “concern” for the rappers’ reproductive and sexual health. He then goes on to say his doctor’s wife thinks the conditions they rap about in “WAP” could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection or trichomoniasis.
Many people, including OB-GYN doctors, clapped right back at Shapiro with facts about healthy and normal female bodies.
On the day the song was released, California Republican candidate for U.S. Congress James P. Bradley posted on Twitter, “Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion are what happens when children are raised without God and without a strong father figure. Their new ‘song’ The #WAP (which i heard accidentally) made me want to pour holy water in my ears and I feel sorry for future girls if this is their role model!”
He then went on to explain how he took personal offense to the “lyrics and messaging” of Cardi B’s hit song.
Comments of men such as Green, Shapiro and Bradley are not only misogynistic but also hypocritical because men do the same thing all the time. Male rappers talk about sex explicitly in their songs and receive no backlash. Men describe their sexual thoughts, feelings and desires in their music, which can sometimes include the ideas of taking advantage of women, and then those same men get scared when women do the same.
Cardi B responded with a series of now-deleted Twitter posts. The rapper stated, “I can’t believe conservatives soo mad about WAP,” and reposted various memes making fun of Shapiro’s comments.
It is no surprise that “WAP,” a song about women taking power in their own sex lives, instead of just thinking of men, angered men such as Green. The release of “WAP” is a big step for female empowerment, and men are going to have to deal with that instead of complaining.
Although it is obvious the song’s lyrics are very explicit, songs with equally explicit lyrics have been around for decades. However, most of those explicit songs are by men, so most men have never had a problem with it before, and no one went to this same degree to try and stop those songs from being heard. The censored radio edit of “WAP” changes the lyrics to “wet and gushy,” which is still suggestive, but not as extreme.
Kanye West, one of the most popular rappers of all time, talks very explicitly about details of sex, just like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion do in “WAP.” In his song “I Don’t Like,” West goes into detail about the female anatomy and what pleases him without having any consideration for what the woman wants. There was little protest of West’s lyrics, but as soon as a woman does the same thing, men explode in anger.
Other female artists, such as Ariana Grande, have since released more songs about their desires. Grande’s latest album titled “Positions” features a song titled “34+35” which is similar to “WAP” as it graphically states her desires.
For too long, women have been silenced in their sexual desires. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion took a leap to make female voices heard.