Cardi B, whose courtroom couture ensembles are so good it makes me want to commit crimes and misdemeanors, is currently embroiled in a $5 million lawsuit against a man who claims she used a photo of his tattoo on a mixtape without permission. As part of the legal proceedings, Cardi was deposed on April 19 and said deposition was recently unsealed by a judge who clearly knows the key to my happiness. Cardi B, as you might expect, talks exactly like Cardi B even under oath and answering questions in the law offices of Reddick, Bozeman, and Lockhart. For instance, during an exchange between Cardi and a lawyer, she was asked how often she goes to California on an annual basis. She replied, "I go there a lot now." The lawyer asked, "For what reason?" Cardi answered, "Work reasons." Case closed for me, but the lawyer needed more information, asking "Yes, why?" Cardi's answer: "Because I'm Cardi B."
Okay, I'm no legal expert (although I did complete the Ruth Bader Ginsburg workout and I once took an LSAT class) but I feel like Cardi's answer is both complete and unimpeachable and maybe we should add it to the Constitution somehow? Cardi was like “let the record show: the reason I do the things I do is because I am me. No further questions.” This is an ontological flex.
This is the level of professional success to which we should all aspire. Indeed, even if we can’t get there in our own careers, we should just adopt this practice anyway. The next time someone questions any of my behavior I’m just going to reply, “Because I’m Cardi B.” There is no redirect, your honor.
Apparently, however, the plaintiff’s counsel did not get the message of who, exactly, Cardi B is, because later in the deposition she delivered a long monologue about herself that will one day win Zendaya an Oscar.
This is somehow even more perfect than I thought it would be. And also, not for nothing, reads like a lyrical update of Meredith Brooks’s song “Bitch.”
I mean I’m a gangster. Like, I feel like I’m a gangster, like, I’m a gangsta.
You know. I’m a stand-up girl.
You know what I’m saying?
I’m a good girl.
But you know I have a lot of heart. So I consider myself a gangster.
I’m from the hood. And that’s what people from the hood consider themselves.
I have a heart of a lion; so that’s what I am.
Like, I’m not a pretty girl,
or I think I’m a pretty girl but I’m not like this, this pink pretty girl.
I’m like, the Buttercup, you know?
There’s three powerful girls.
There’s Blossom, and then there’s Bubbles and there’s Buttercup, the green one.
That’s me. That’s who I am.
This is, and I cannot stress this enough, art. Shakespeare found dead in a ditch. Walt Whitman wigless! Emily Dickinson, pack up your knives and go home.
Until this gets the annotated Genius page it so richly deserves, let's dive in, segment by segment.
Cardi B starts off strong. She is a gangster. Are you aware of what she is saying? A gangster. This is not necessarily something you want to say in a legal proceeding as gangsters are, by and large, a no-no in the eyes of the law. Why does she say it? Because I'm Cardi B.
She is a gangster! But also! A good girl! Complexity is immediately introduced. The duality of the human. Romulus and Remus. Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning. You understand.
She has a lot of heart but she considers herself a gangster. In lay terms, she is Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed. So, the people that Cardi B are currently include: herself, a gangster, a good girl, and Billy Costigan.
Now about that heart? What is the nature of this heart? Is it a human heart? NAY! It is the heart of a lion. This is surprising information to me, at least. Cardi B is Nala.
Even more surprising? Cardi claims she is not a pretty girl. Is she quoting Ani DiFranco? Only Cardi and the court reporter and the rat from The Departed know the answer to that. Then again, she immediately revises herself. She thinks she's pretty but not this pink pretty girl. Which pink pretty girl? Why, she'll tell you!
This one. Blossom. Cardi B is not Blossom.
Fortunately for all of us, this revelation prompts Cardi to explain the main characters and basic premise of the television show The Powerpuff Girls. For legal reasons.
"There's three powerful girls," she says somewhat redundantly but still delightfully, "There’s Blossom, and then there’s Bubbles and there’s Buttercup, the green one. That’s me. That’s who I am."
The "that's me. That's who I am." is the most powerful thing I have ever read on Normani's internet and I will be ruminating on it forever.
Buttercup, the more outspoken and hot-headed of the Powerpuff Girls certainly does seem to be the one most likely to sit in a lawyer's office and give a long monologue about being a gangster, so this tracks. However, Buttercup (much to my constant consternation) does not have any superpowers and it seems quite clear from this deposition performance that Cardi B is anything but mortal. So, I'm vexed.
This is the person, after all, who is both accused of ordering her bodyguard to throw a chair in a strip club and also is such a civics-head that she scored a sit down with Bernie Sanders in a nail parlor. Or, rather, Bernie Sanders scored a sit down with her, actually. What I'm saying is that there are levels and, no offense to Professor Utonium, I think Buttercup should aspire to be Cardi, not the other way around.
The case is still on-going but I've reached my verdict: anybody who calls Cardi B—gangster, good girl, not a pretty girl, also a pretty girl, lion-heart, Buttercup, actually Cardi B—to the stand may be wasting her time but they are gracing the world with access to under-oath poetry the likes of which the world has never seen. Tell Robert Frost to go kick rocks down either path in the woods.
R. Eric Thomas R Eric Thomas is a Senior Staff Writer at ELLE.com, home of his daily humor column "Eric Reads the News," which skewers politics, pop culture, celebrity shade, and schadenfreude.