Not only has the 24-year-old Cardi B become the first female rapper to nab a solo number one in the US since Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop (That Thing) in 1998, but she knocked queen of the charts Taylor Swift off the top spot in the process. Yesterday, Cardi celebrated Bodak Yellow bagging the Hot 100 number one at Atlantic Records in New York City, where she thanked her friends and family.
Bodak Yellow became the surprise rap anthem of the summer, and its ascent to the top of the charts has seen the Love and Hip Hop: New York star praised by some of the biggest stars in rap. But for those who may not have seen the rapper’s success coming, we quickly recap on who she is – because that’s what we are here for.
Cardi’s real name is actually Belcalis Almanzar. She comes from the Bronx in New York City, although her family is of Caribbean descent hailing from Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica. Her parents nicknamed her Bacardi, as a testament to her Caribbean heritage and then later named her sister Hennessey.
Cardi B is unapologetic AF and this why we love her. Cardi currently boasts 10 million followers on Instagram thanks to her videos on social issues. ‘You know what, when I started doing videos, I just took a camera and started talking about how corny guys are, how corny bitches are,’ she explained during an interview with Complex. ‘Just cracking jokes like I do with my friends. A lot of people when they meet me will be like, ”You’re just like your Instagram video.’ I’m like, ”Bitch I know. That’s who I am”.’ She’s also the greatest person to interview ever.
Before rising to fame via Love & Hip Hop New York and Bodak Yellow, Cardi B pursued a career as an exotic dancer at the age of 18. According to reports, she planned to retire from stripping at 25 but quit at 23 when she instead became a social media personality.
Cardi is very aware that she is underestimated but that has not stopped her from working hard. She said: ‘They always think I’m just gonna be the stripper that’s never gonna make it nowhere. But you know what? It’s cool, because I’m the underdog.’ Fast forward two years and she is rivalling the biggest pop star in the world for chart domination.
Cardi went from escaping abuse at home to stripping to make ends meet to being a social media star to arriving on one of the biggest reality TV shows. Her Instagram success led to her being cast Love And Hip Hop: New York. She appeared in two seasons before quitting to focus on her music career. And clearly, it worked for her.