After a whirlwind summer that saw their collaboration go No. 1, take over the national discourse, and “piss off a bunch of Republicans for no reason,” Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion finally got to perform a watered-down version of the raunchy “WAP” on the Grammys.
Opting to use the clean version — which contains one of the three words Cardi says she hates the most — Cardi and Meg hit the stage together for a smashing, roaring 20s-inspired performance. Opening with a jazzy medley of Meg’s “Body” and “Savage,” Cardi appeared via a wild, LED screen, dancing in a gleaming futuristic ensemble to start her performance with her new song “Up.” Then Meg joined her after a very quick costume change for a performance of “WAP” backed by a giant stripper shoe with a heel that doubled as a pole.
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After releasing “Up,” the follow-up to “WAP,” Cardi commented on the reaction to her and Meg’s hit, saying she was surprised because it was “really mild” compared to the continuum of randy sex raps from previous female stars like Lil Kim and Trina. The song’s title was censored at the Emmys, confusing and delighting fans, while “WAP” became a political lightning rod, drawing responses from the likes of Republican Congressional candidates, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Cardi even joked she was originally supposed to perform the song at the 2021 Presidential inauguration.
“WAP” isn’t nominated for an award this year, but Cardi made sure to congratulate overlooked, under-the-radar nominees ahead of the ceremony. Meanwhile, Megan actually did win an award before the televised portion of the ceremony for her “Savage” remix with Beyonce, making them the first women to win the Best Rap Performance award.
Watch Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s performance above.
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