NEW YORK (AFP) - Cardi B is working to quash controversy over resurfaced footage in which she admits to drugging and robbing men, pointing to "limited options" in her days as a stripper.
Social media backlash has swirled in recent days over the three-year-old clip taken from an Instagram live session, with the rapper saying she "drugged (men) up, and I robbed them. That's what I used to do".
Responding to the criticism, the now 26-year-old went on the offensive on Instagram, saying she had discussed "things I had to do in my past - right or wrong - that I felt I needed to do to make a living".
"I was blessed to have been able to rise from that but so many women have not."
The expletive-laden video appears to be a response to allegations that she had not earned her success, with Cardi B saying in it: "Nothing was... handed to me."
But the clip triggered the hashtag #SurvivingCardiB, a reference to the bombshell documentary Surviving R. Kelly that refocused attention on sex abuse accusations against the R&B star.
Many Twitter users alleged a double standard, saying her actions were comparable to those of male performers accused of sexual assault.
"The men I spoke about in my life were men whom I dated, that I was involved with... men who were conscious, willing and aware," she posted on Instagram.
The outspoken superstar - who last month became the first woman solo artist to win a Best Rap Album Grammy - said she was part "of a hip hop culture where you can talk about where you come from, talk about the wrong things you had to do to get where you are".
"There are rappers who glorify murder, violence, drugs and robbing," Cardi B said.
"I never glorified the things I brought up in that life, I never even put those things in my music because I'm not proud of them and feel a responsibility not to glorify them.
"All I can do now is to be a better (person) for myself, my family and my future."