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Is former Love & Hip Hop: New York cast member Cardi B officially a rap star now? She looks like it on the cover of The Fader’s annual Summer Music issue, where she channels a pose familiar to Lil Kim fans.

As for the cover pose, we consider it a homage a number of Kim photos including here…

Or here….

As for Cardi B, who has officially signed with Atlantic Records, she has her finger on the pulse of her success and isn’t afraid to share tea when necessary.

On the importance of marketability:

“You gotta follow the trends, it is what it is. At the end of the day, you need to be with what sells. Sometimes it kinda crushes me because I wanna do music like how I like, but if it’s not selling and it’s not gonna work, then I’ll change my sound. I have a passion for music, I love music. But I also have a passion for money and paying my bills.”

On her focus as an artist:

“I put out the ‘Lick’ video and I did [an Instagram] video the same day ranting, and my video ranting went more viral than my actual music video. Now it’s like I gotta be more of an artist. And to be more of an artist, I gotta be more censored because my personality just overshadows everything.”

On her family’s struggles with money:

“I do feel kind of guilty sometimes ’cause, like, I could buy myself a $5,000 dress or a $3,000 dress and I’m buying these things but I’m knowing that my cousin need money for the rent. And then I gotta tell myself, ‘Stop feeling guilty. You worked for this.’ When I was a stripper, I used to strip like six nights a week. I used to bust my ass. And I didn’t stop [working]. Until today I work just as hard as I did before.”

On Offset, former FADER cover star and member of Migos:

“It’s been a blessing, me meeting him and meeting his friends. I see how hard they work. And that motivated me to work even harder. And I see how good things are going for them and how popping it is to be number one. And I’m like, I want that. A lot of people just see they jewelry and they money, but I don’t think a lot of people see how hard they work for that shit every single day.”

Cardi B is up for a pair of BET Awards this weekend for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist and Best New Artist.

Check out the cover photo and some more pics from her shoot below and on the flip. Be sure to read the entire story right here.

Photos: The FADER/Samantha Casolari

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