As the headlining talent for this year’s Black Heritage Day, rap princess Cardi B turned it out for 43 minutes and got the hell out of there — and the audience loved every moment of it.
People were already pleased that the Rodeo got an A-list artist like Cardi for this year’s festivities. Many locals (especially African-American locals) cried foul when retro-soul singer (and Fort Worth native) Leon Bridges was booked as the headliner for Black Heritage Day last year. Some were miffed that the Rodeo couldn’t get a more popular performer.
Despite Bridges doing an okay performance on the night in question (he even brought out beloved Houston rapper Bun B at one point), it was still the lowest-attended concert last year, with 51,870 in paid attendance.
This year’s show was an entirely different story. After the resident DJ warmed up the packed house with a few Gulf Coast rap favorites, Cardi came out to the center, star-shaped stage in an SUV at 9:07 pm, covered in a sparkly, pink-and-blue, fringed-to-hell cowboy outfit.
She got out the vehicle already hitting the audience with “Get Up 10,” the first track from her Grammy-winning, double platinum-selling debut Invasion of Privacy. Once she hit the stage, she was accompanied by Daisy Dukes-wearing dancers who were equally fringed out.
Cardi mostly did a lean show, usually coming with just a verse or two of her already myriad hits. (Since most of the hits she’s done have been with other artists, she only did her verses.)
As much as she tried to keep it clean for the predominantly family crowd, some F-bombs came out during a couple of songs. The most R-rated moment of the evening came when she went into “Please Me,” her latest collab with Bruno Mars, and reminded everyone that, even though she’s a new mom, she can still come with those stripper moves.
Cardi also showed her humorous side, dropping some wisecracking asides in-between numbers. “This is for all my pretty girls — and the ugly ones too,” she said with a laugh before one tune. She also wasn’t afraid to be self-deprecating, saying she had to take a quick break to put on more deodorant. (The DJ played a trio of Cardi-associated numbers as the dancers danced for the crowd.)
She obviously closed things out with her monster hit “Bodak Yellow,” stepping off the stage at 9:50. She got back in the SUV and did one more lap around the stadium, waving to fans out the window as the DJ played the oh-so-apt “Best Life,” her duet with Chance the Rapper.
Though Bacardi gave Houstonians a short-and-sweet show, it was enough to bring in a paid attendance of 75,580, which is now a new record for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Cardi narrowly beat out the previous record holder, Garth Brooks, who played a sell-out show last year.
“Get Up 10”
“Backin’ It Up”
“Girls Like You”
“I Like It”