Happy birthday to Kulture Kiari Cephus! We met her as a baby bump during Cardi's 2018 Saturday Night Live Performance, and yesterday, the little rap heiress turned one year old.
Cardi has expressed again and again how happy and inspired being a mom has made her. Last night, she shared a love letter to her daughter in the form of a brand new song. "I love my baby she changed my life" Cardi wrote on Instagram.
The song is also one of the most vulnerable Cardi's ever made. It's a kind of epic ballad, spun over a perfect slow-tempo, old-school beat, which she borrowed from hip-hop icon Eve. The artist raps about her love for Kulture, telling her origin story: "I ain't even met you and I love you to death/ Perform live on TV and hid you under my dress/ We did the ruffles, the fur coats, a hundred different ways/ But it seems like you're getting larger every day."
She spends plenty of bars waxing poetic about her baby, but she also uses the song to get honest about what it's like to be a mother, as a working artist and public figure.
"I'm overwhelmed, the pressure is startin' to swell/ The time to turn in my album is windin' down/ So I locked in, starting workin', I was driven/ Started hearin' public opinions about my private decisions."
She continues, describing how these criticisms started to get to her: "And that right there, see, enough to drive you crazy/ Complete strangers talkin' 'bout my baby/ Coming from people who never used to check for me/ They brought opinions but nothing off the registry."
The judgement Cardi faced as a mom in the public eye is something she's been vocal about. The Breakfast Club last year: "I'm a grown woman, I'm 25 years old. In the most humblest way, I'm a schmillionaire. I'm prepared for this," she said. "It just really bothers me and it disgusts me because I see a lot of women online like, 'Oh I feel sorry for you. Oh your career is over.' It's like, 'Why can't I have both? Why do I have to choose a career or a baby? I want both.'"
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But given Cardi's bombastic, swaggering persona, fans might not realized that this scrutiny affected her as much as the tender song reveals.
Kulture's birthday ballad is still untitled and unreleased but Cardi explains in her post that the song was initially created for Invasion of Privacy, but didn't up on the final track list. Hopefully we'll see it streaming soon.
Photo via Getty