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Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion Spark Sexuality Debate After Release of Hit Song, ‘WAP’

Single art for 'WAP' by Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion

Sexually explicit content is nothing new in the hip-hop genre. However, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s latest song ‘WAP’ has sparked a huge debate on the internet. The title, itself, raised a few eyebrows with “WAP” being an acronym for Wet-Ass Pussy.

The song has drawn criticism from conservative-leaning politicians and pundits. A few hours following the single’s August 7th release, Republican congressional candidate, James P. Bradley voiced his reaction on Twitter writing, “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!”

The same day, conservative politician DeAnna Lorraine also tweeted, “Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion just set the entire female gender back by 100 years with their disgusting & vile ‘WAP’ song.” Both tweets generated more than 18,000 retweets and comments.

Media personality, Ben Shapiro, made headlines recently when he mockingly read the lyrics of the song on his program, “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

In an interview with i-D, Cardi B said she was surprised by the backlash, “I knew it was gonna have a big impact, I guess, because of me and Megan. But I didn’t know it was going to be so controversial. I never expected that, you know, conservatives and Republicans were going to be talking about the song. I didn’t think the song was as vulgar as they said it was, you know?”

Despite the scathing critiques, ‘WAP’ has received a generally positive response and as of August 15th, holds the number one spot on the Top 200 Spotify Charts in the U.S. and globally according to the chart website.

“‘WAP’ is a song that is essentially just about celebrating, as a woman, the power of your vagina,” said culture and music journalist Lakin Starling who wrote a review of the song for Pitchfork. The song pays homage to an older generation of female rappers like Khia, Lil’ Kim, and Trina who are all known for their raunchy lyrics, according to Starling.

Listeners, like 24-year-old Ashanti McCormick, described the song as “fun” and “sexually empowering.”

“For women, we love it. It’s raw. It just gets you in the mood. You’re feeling like a bad b*tch,” said Ayo Sutherland, co-host of the music podcast “Uncensored.”

“But then, when you’re speaking to men and getting their perspective the tone changes. So, instantly it’s these women should be setting examples and they shouldn’t be talking like that,” said Sutherland.

Men and women have called out the apparent double standard at play, citing that male rappers are rarely called out for frequently having provocative content in their lyrics.

“Women have always been talking about their bodies, have always been talking about how good they are at sex, have always been talking about what pleases and what satisfies them, what they need in that in that capacity. And I just think that society still hasn't caught up. There's a lot of misogyny that informs the way that we consume art and the way that we think about women especially in rap,” said Starling.

Others were not surprised when they heard the racy lyrics, like 28-year-old Blake Ralling, “It is hip-hop. Hip-hop is very vulgar, and it's very explicit. I think that in today's rap game, we don't shy away from the explicit words. We just give it to you straight up.”