The Story Behind Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "Bongos" – American Songwriter

On Friday (September 8), Cardi B released “Bongos,” her second collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion. Within hours of its release, the music video for “Bongos” racked up millions of views, as fans around the world finally received the highly-anticipated follow-up to “WAP,” Cardi and Meg’s award-winning 2020 joint single.
However, swapping trap-rap, and dance club themes for tropically-inspired Afro and Latin influences, “Bongos” saw Cardi and Meg go in a slightly new direction, marking a new era for both of them. For Cardi, the song will likely serve as a lead single for her upcoming sophomore album, her first full-length release since the Grammy-winning Invasion of Privacy in 2018.
In an interview just before the release of “Bongos,” Cardi assured fans that it would not be a replica of “WAP,” and that she and Meg fully trusted each other artistically.
“I wonder how people are gonna react to this vibe because they’re really like expecting ‘WAP,’ like, ‘Oh, here they go again talking this and that.’” she told DJ Whoo Kid in an interview. “We are talking a little, you know, about some p***y, but not like ‘WAP’ type of stuff… It’s a different theme and the video is like a whole complete different type of theme. We put in our sweat and everything… It’s like on some ‘B*tchh, you jump, I jump. If [you’re] with it, I’m with it. We’re gonna do it.’”
In the case of Megan Thee Stallion, “Bongos” marked her first vocal appearance in over a year, when she dropped her August 2022 album, Traumazine. In between then and now, she had endured tons of scrutiny due to fellow rapper Tory Lanez’s assault case, which took place in a Los Angeles court and stemmed from the time he shot Megan in the foot in Summer 2020.
[RELATED: 21 Savage, Cardi B, and Drake Lead This Year’s BET Hip Hop Awards Nominations]
Lanez would be found guilty in December 2022 of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, having an unregistered loaded gun in a vehicle, and discharge with gross negligence. Before his sentencing, though, Meg would do an interview with InStyle in May, where she explained that she would not return to releasing music until her mental health improved.
“Fans can expect new music when I’m in a better place,” she said. “Right now, I’m focused on healing… The music and entertainment industry can be a grind, so it’s important to take time off and avoid burning out. Life is all about balance.” 
Ultimately, Lanez would be sentenced to 10 years in prison in August of 2023. At a festival soon after the news broke, Megan would address all her supporters and naysayers, patting herself on the back for her resilience.
“All the people that rock with me, that fight with me, fight for me, I really appreciate y’all,” she told attendees at the Outside Lands festival in San Fransisco. “So today I just wanna say, fuck all my haters. None of that shit you was doing or saying broke me. None of that shit y’all was doing or saying to the hotties broke them.”
But, even though justice had been served, Cardi B still knew “Bongos” would be a huge moment for Megan and a huge opportunity for both of their careers. Simply put, the song could not have happened without the solidarity Cardi showed Meg, and the trust they had for one another personally and musically.
“It feels good [to get back into the game]… it makes me feel good that she trusts me,” Cardi told Whoo Kid. “I’mma give my all. Not only am I doing this for myself, [but] ‘I want you to trust me.’ We trust each other.”
The dynamic duo will take the stage at the 2023 Video Music Awards for their debut performance of the just-released single, “Bongos.”
Check out “Bongos” below.
Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage
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