Before Aug. 6, 2020, life in the COVID-19 pandemic went on as normal. And then Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion had something to say about it, thanks to three little words: "WAP."
The three-lettered song title - a modest abbreviation for a very raunchy sex term - was an immediate conversation starter. Listeners huddled indoors, avoiding coronavirus and missing out on a whole hot girl summer, responded well to the track's no-holds-barred energy. Every part of the song was dissected, from each in-your-face, ladies-first lyric to the bass-heavy hook (built around a sample of Baltimore club legend Frank Ski's "Whores in This House"). Conservative critics balked in protest, but there was no stopping the song from becoming a late-summer smash. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks across August and September and ended up on dozens of best-of lists.
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And to think - a few steps in another direction and the song could have been very different. "I'm talking about, without exaggeration, maybe 50 different versions before I arrived at a place like, 'Oh shit, I think I got it,'" Cardi's business partner Brooklyn Johnny told Billboard. "So as soon as I had it, the first person I let hear it was Cardi...Two different flows, two different energies, two different accents, two different dictions, two different deliveries. In that moment, it just reminded me of old school hip-hop. Artists don't usually do things like this when they're on the top of their games."
Indeed - these two remain on top. Here's to many, many more years of "WAP"!