Cardi B oozes charisma and offers a bit of blunt honesty during her 45-minute Iowa debut
After tearing through her opening songs, Cardi B paused to inform the thousands of fans Friday night at a sold-out Wells Fargo Arena that she had her breast implants redone three weeks before traveling to Des Moines.
The artist said her plastic surgeon asked her to cancel shows and take two months off to heal. But she said she denied her doctor's request in favor of her fans — and money.
It's this kind of blunt transparency that has propelled Cardi B's career and brought her from the Bronx all the way to Iowa as she kicked off a summer of festival appearances and headliner shows.
Friday's show featured 17 songs, ranging from snippets to full-length tracks — and one mid-set bathroom break — over 45 minutes. She played all three of her No. 1 Billboard hits and most of her Grammy Award-winning album, "Invasion of Privacy."
Widespread attention first found the entertainer through viral videos that permeated social networks like Instagram and Vine in the 2012 and 2013 before she landed a spot on VH1's "Love and Hip Hop: New York," which she left after two seasons to focus on music.
The New York rapper's first sojourn to Iowa had been greatly anticipated. A crowd of more than 13,000 roiled with excitement that sustained itself through a short Kodak Black set — and a long stretch of waiting before she took the stage.
Raygun produced a special line of T-shirts to commemorate the moment with a play on their "Des Moines: Hell Yeah!" design, inverting it to "Des Moines: Okurrr" — the onomatopoeia of the trilling noise Cardi B has made her signature and is currently attempting to trademark — above a pastiche of the classic Rolling Stones tongue logo.
Shortly before she took the stage, the young mother also received a gift from the venue itself: matching pink letter jackets for her and her 11-month-old daughter, Kulture.
Sporting a dazzling, Dorothy's-slippers red outfit, much of the outsized sexuality and vulgar charm that has defined Cardi B's image as a stripper turned mega-star was on full display.
She twerked and twisted across a small stage accompanied by her tour DJ and a pyramid of backup dancers.
Despite this being her first visit to the state that pride's itself in its first-in-the-nation caucus, and her well-noted taste for political discourse, Cardi B made no mentions of the 2020 election or otherwise, though she has previously stated her support for Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont.
Before closing the show with "Bodak Yellow," the ferocious and iconic track that made her only the second woman to have a solo No. 1 hit, Cardi B took a moment to thank her fans. Some readers would find the full quote profane, but in it, she declared Iowa a "lit a-- city."
Her fans screamed their approval, regardless of the statement's technical veracity.