Cardi B’s Rulebook: How She Defied Expectations and Ruled Her Own Empire - NEWS

Cardi B’s Rulebook: How She Defied Expectations and Ruled Her Own Empire

From reality TV star to chart-topping rapper, Cardi B’s career trajectory has been nothing short of meteoric. However, her journey to success was not without its challenges. Like many new artists, Cardi B found herself under the control of managers and labels looking to profit off her rising fame. But she refused to be just another cog in the music industry machine. Through a public legal battle, leveraging of social media, and building a strong team she trusts, Cardi B took charge of her career and reclaimed her autonomy.

The Legal Fight for Control

In 2018, Cardi B made headlines for filing a lawsuit against her former manager Klenord “Shaft” Raphael and his company Shaft Based Records. The lawsuit highlighted Cardi B’s fight to wrestle back control of her financial and creative decisions from Raphael’s grip. According to court documents, Raphael had been her manager since the beginning of her career in 2015. However, Cardi B claimed he began to exert an inappropriate amount of control as her star rose.

The lawsuit alleged that Raphael attempted to control not just her business dealings but her personal life as well. He demanded a cut of profits from her endorsements, appearances, and other ventures outside of her music career. Cardi B also accused Raphael of blocking business opportunities unless he received a payoff. Perhaps most disturbing of all, she said he made demands about her relationships and even threatened physical harm.

In response, Raphael painted himself as the Svengali behind Cardi B’s success, taking full credit for breaking her into the industry. He claimed their contract entitled him to ongoing profits from her career in perpetuity. However, Cardi B argued the one-sided contract she signed early in her career was unconscionable and that she had long since outgrown the role of a manager.

The legal battle garnered widespread media coverage, serving as a public declaration by Cardi B that she would no longer be controlled. After over a year of litigation, the case was privately settled in 2019. While terms were not disclosed, this likely meant Cardi B was able to terminate her contract with Raphael and take full control of her business and personal decisions going forward. The lawsuit marked a pivotal moment that allowed Cardi B to truly own her career path.

Leveraging Social Media Savvy

Another key factor in Cardi B’s rise to independence has been her strategic use of social media. Even before breaking into the mainstream, she amassed a huge following on platforms like Instagram by sharing candid, unfiltered glimpses into her life. This allowed her to connect directly with fans without going through traditional industry channels.

Cardi B’s social media presence is characterized by its authenticity. She is not afraid to show both the glamorous and mundane sides of her life. Fans appreciate her humor and willingness to discuss topics often taboo in hip hop like sexuality, relationships, and motherhood. This engagement has been crucial for cultivating loyalty among her fanbase.

Importantly, Cardi B’s social channels also give her complete control over her public image and promotion. She can announce new music, videos, and projects entirely on her own terms. Labels and managers and no longer gatekeepers between her and fans. This direct connection means Cardi B understands her supporters better than anyone.

When her debut single “Bodak Yellow” took off in 2017, it was grassroots fan engagement on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube that propelled it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart rather than traditional radio play. Her social following opened doors and opportunities that may have otherwise been closed to a new female rapper. To this day, Cardi B continues to leverage her online savvy and fan relationships to drive her career success independently.

Building a Supportive Team

After ending her contract with her exploitative former manager, Cardi B set about assembling a team she could truly trust. This included hiring music industry veterans like J. Prince of Rap-a-Lot Records and Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas of Quality Control Music to advise her.

Unlike previous controllers who tried to dictate terms, this new management supports Cardi B’s creative autonomy. They understand that her vision is what has resonated with audiences. Coach K even told Billboard that “Cardi is the general of her own movement…she’s very hands-on with her career.”

Cardi B also works closely with her producer-husband Offset of Migos on music and has given him producer credits that have increased his stake in projects. Their collaborative relationship allows for organic creativity without restrictive third party involvement.

On the business side, Cardi B employs a savvy legal team that protects her interests. They ensure she maintains ownership of her master recordings and receives her fair share of touring, endorsements and other revenue streams. This supportive infrastructure means Cardi B can fully focus on her artistry without worrying about being taken advantage of.

Breaking the Mold

Through determination and skill, Cardi B has reshaped expectations for female rappers and given them a new model for career ownership. Where previous generations may have endured controlling labels and managers, she proved a woman in hip hop could fight for and win her independence.

By asserting authority over her business, image and music, Cardi B has become one of the most powerful entertainers in the world virtually entirely on her own terms. Her success shows that with strong social skills, business acumen and an authentic creative vision, even marginalized voices can break free of industry constraints. Most importantly, she proved that female artists deserve the same autonomy as their male counterparts.

Cardi B now uses her platform to advocate for other women, especially those of color, seeking fair treatment. She donates to causes supporting underserved communities and female empowerment. This commitment to elevating others shows Cardi B understands the responsibility that comes with her influence. She is ensuring the next generation does not have to struggle against the same barriers she overcame.

Through legal battles, social media dominance and assembling a supportive team, Cardi B has taken full control of her career and rewritten the rulebook for independence in hip hop. Her journey serves as an inspiration for any artist seeking to own their creative destiny outright. With continued evolution as both a businesswoman and entertainer, Cardi B’s impact on popular culture is just getting started.

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