Stripper, robber, Hustler: why Cardi B's unapologetic life is wilder than any movie

Cardi B as Diamond in Hustlers
Cardi B as Diamond in Hustlers Credit: Barbara Nitke

Before Cardi B was a history-making, chart-topping, Grammy-winning rapper, she was a stripper. It’s a fact that is entrenched in her late-capitalist legend.

The issues that dominate her lyrics: her relentless hustle, street smarts and fixation on money – both as a necessity and as a luxury – are reflected by her stripping years.

And it’s stripping that has been at the heart of her most damaging controversies, where the crowd-pleasing, dubious strand of third-wave feminism of her former career merged with indisputable criminality.

All of which has made her one of pop culture’s most contradictory and fascinating figures, a woman who is both politically socialist (based, at least, on her public...

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