Cardi B has something that leaves every hater and liker in awe — she packs stadiums.
The 26-year-old Bronx native hasn’t just reached stadium-status, an act that can draw upwards of 20,000 people — something many sports franchises strive for – she also leaves those masses that actually left their home and look up from their phone utterly satisfied.
Cardi kills massive crowds and did the same at Target Center on Saturday night July 27. The capacity crowd, with not a seat empty or nary a fan sitting down, salivated for the former reality star, then devoured her nearly 50-minute set.
Belcalis’ set was short but sweet and slurped down with the anticipation and glee of an ice cream treat in the summer.
She dressed deliciously in a sparkling, spandex blue number and silver-blue flowing hair and ripped through hits from her mixtapes, features, and her stellar debut album Invasion of Privacy.
A particularly fire medley run, in upstart Cardi fashion, kicked-off the show. Surrounded by her dancers, dressed in blue and angular sunglasses, she sprinted through her hype feature verse from J.R.’s song “Gimme Head Too” into the endorphin igniting, head-bangingess that is “Money Bag” from her album to her feature, song-salvaging verse from G-Eazy’s “No Limit.”
With each song, each sliver of the short set, the crowd was ablaze. Even during in-between moments, while Cardi spoke to the crowd about being a “bad” lady and Offset’s infidelity, her infectious, unassuming personality, and the raw force of her immense celebrity, kept the Target Center energy a tizzy.
Cardi has achieved mass appeal. Stadium-status in the fractured modern world of culture consumption might be the most priceless commodity. Getting online-shoppers and people who haven’t been to the movie theaters in years but who have the on-demand schedules for every streaming service memorized to leave their homes, to be excited to leave their couch, and, in the tens-of-thousands, engage by screaming and dancing, is the cultural holy grail of 2019.
Rap, even more than other genres that have come to reign over pop culture, is a race, a fight to the top of the hill. Like being a boxer, being a really good rapper is great, but the respect of being the one to wear the championship belt can often feel like the be-all, end-all.
In the battle for bars-on-bars supremacy, any advantage, be it based on reputation or analytics, can be the difference the online stan wars.
Even some of the highest-grossing rappers, like Future, Eminem, and, yes, Nicki Minaj, cannot boast the ability to pack stadiums.
Cardi closed with her rocket ship song, her proto “Old Town Road” that blasted her from B-level reality stardom to American-royalty level celebrity, 2017’s “Bodak Yellow.”
It wrapped her short program like a stupendous finale capping and compensating for a short fireworks set.
California rapper Saweetie and New Orleans spitter Kevin Gates opened the show. Together with Cardi B, the three completed the theme of thug sex appeal.
Saweetie, like Cardi B, twerked and traipsed about, rapping melodic bars about hustling men and looking good while doing so.
Gates hum-rapped his street operatic tunes, periodically lifting up his shirt to reveal taut, tattooed covered abs to the cheering satisfaction of the crowd.