Much of the rapper Cardi B’s early success might be traced to the VH1 reality series Love & Hip Hop: New York. Her drive and undeniable flow have brought from that point to the top of the charts, nailing hit after hit, from “Bodak Yellow” to the slickest song of the summer, “WAP.” Now, at the height of her game, she’s making her return to the small screen — the smallest screen, in fact.
Cardi B launched her new, eight-episode reality series Cardi Tries on Wednesday (December 17). As its title suggests, the show will follow the rap star as she challenges herself Simple Life-style with sports, stunt car racing, sushi-slinging — basically, anything she hasn’t tried before. The first episode takes Cardi to a dance school helmed by the legendary actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, where she takes a spin (and a plié) at ballet class. “Have you done ballet before?” Allen asks Cardi at one point, to which the rapper responds, “I used to be a stripper.”
Hilarity ensues from there, with plenty of the customary Cardi-isms fans have come to expect from the Grammy-winning artist. To prepare our minds and souls for new episodes airing every Thursday through February 4, MTV News recapped everything we learned watching the first episode of Cardi Tries.
- Even Cardi B struggles with choreography.
This was a shock to hear! A travesty, even — that Cardi, who singeth of making it drop, from the top, simply can’t dance. I wouldn’t believe it had she not admitted it herself at the outset of the episode. “I got two left feet,” she says. “I don’t have no rhythm.” She’s joined by members from her team, including makeup artist Tokyo Stylez and wardrobe stylist Kollin Carter. “She’s not lying about the two left feet,” Carter affirms. “She won’t have rhythm for, like, three weeks. And then the last week is like, rhythm just pops from out of nowhere.”
- Ballet shoes feel like condoms on your feet.
That’s how Cardi describes the sensation of slipping her toes into the flexible flats backstage at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, though which of the two is more protective, the shoes or their rubbery counterparts, is unclear. You wouldn’t catch me hitting the subway in those flimsy babies, nuh uh! They don’t have red bottoms — well, in some cases, they could ostensibly be considered “bloody shoes,” given the medium’s physical strain — but they’ll do for dance class.
- There are apparently no ballet classes in the Bronx.
Well, at least according to Cardi B. Prior to her music career taking off when she signed to Atlantic Records in 2017, Cardi was a stripper, and she remains proud of that history, even appearing in the 2019 film Hustlers. But it seems she didn’t have much formal training prior to that gig. When Allen asks if she’s ever used first position — a basic ballet position wherein a dancer stands with their heels together — while working the pole, Cardi responds in kind. “You know, Debbie Allen, I think that there was no ballet class in the Bronx,” she jokes. A quick Google search reveals more than a few.
- Ballet class will teach you better French than Emily in Paris.
For real, how much does Emily Cooper actually learn throughout her internship at Savoir? Yes, I can say oui, too, girl. By challenging herself with this new experience, Cardi learns a thing or two about another culture, as well. Allen explains that plié means to bend, a translation that serves as an astute name for a move that refers to bending and straightening the knees. “It looks so simple and beautiful,” Cardi says of the move, “but this is difficult as hell!”
- Debbie Allen has soft hands.
Storied dance instructor and Grey’s Anatomy star Debbie Allen has mentored the stars of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Hamilton, and beyond; she’s traveled the world as an ambassador of the art, and at 70, she’s still molding its future. But she also, we discover, has very soft hands, as Cardi points out while the instructor shows her a few additional basic moves. I wonder what moisturizer she uses!
- The only person allowed to have acrylics in ballet class is Cardi B.
Cardi B is always rocking an extravagant set of acrylic nails, to the point that her nail artist, Jenny Bui, was herself the subject of a Drag Race “Snatch Game” skit. But when Cardi arrives at Allen’s studio equipped with royal blue stiletto-sharp nails, the instructor is quick to let her know that it’s simply not practical. You could take an eye out with those things! Fortunately for Cardi, Allen made an exception today. “My nails give me a character,” Cardi says in an aside. “I could look like a bum, right? But my nails show that I got money.”
- Cardi B can (maybe) drive now.
So, it’s unclear. A lot of fuss was made when it was revealed that Cardi B, who recently purchased her husband Offset a Lamborghini for his birthday and has plenty of luxury cars of her own, couldn’t drive. But come on, she grew up in the Bronx; what New Yorker can drive? But a look into Episode 2 shows Cardi B hitting the racetrack with Michelle Rodriguez of the Fast & Furious franchise. Seems dangerous — guess we’ll have to tune in next week to see what happens.
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