The world watched as Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” topped the Billboard 100 list for over three weeks in 2017, making her the longest running female rapper to reign on the chart since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998.
Now Cardi has claimed her place on the hip-hop throne. She has collaborated with well known hip-hop and R&B names such as Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Kehlani, Migos, and many more, releasing banger after banger.
Cardi’s most attractive quality hasn’t been her moves in the music game, but the fact that she has been the realest person in the music industry. Since her days on Love and Hip Hop, she has touched many hearts and accumulated a following that brought her to her rightful spot on the top.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cardi knows she’s now famous for life.
“I cannot turn my life back around. I’m already a public figure, I’m famous. It’s like, I might as well keep it going, might as well make the money. People are always going to talk shit – I cannot make myself unfamous.”
We watched her go from a stripper living in the projects to a multi-millionaire in what seemed to be overnight. Cardi has been open about her climb out of poverty and her adjustment to her new life with money.
At the end of the day, the most illuminating part about Cardi’s story is the feeling it gives us all — hope.
Cardi serves as a reminder to everyone that being yourself is all you can do in the world, and that eventually, by being you and doing what you love, you have every opportunity to make it to where you need to be.
Yes, the Bronx princess who was hustling for money just a few years ago is signed to a major label and holding the belt for the most popular song in America over the likes of Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift.
As you can imagine there has been praise and congratulations from peers like Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliott to J.Cole and Simone Biles. And justifiably so, it’s beautiful that hip-hop can give opportunities to people who might not have gotten them otherwise.
However, when it comes to hip-hop, and specifically Cardi B, certain people shouldn’t be allowed to comment. And Miley Cyrus is one of them.
Just four years removed from her pop/hip-hop album Bangerz — which was executively produced by Mike Will Made It by the way — Miley Cyrus decided to declare herself “out of the hip-hop scene” in an interview for Billboard’s May 13 cover issue.
“But I also love that new Kendrick [Lamar] song [“Humble”]: ‘Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks.’ I love that because it’s not ‘Come sit on my d*ck, suck on my c*ck.’ I can’t listen to that anymore. That’s what pushed me out of the hip-hop scene a little. It was too much ‘Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my c*ck’ — I am so not that.
“I was torn on whether I was going to work with certain producers that I really like. But I feel if we’re not on the same page politically.”
Not only has she validated every accusation of cultural appropriation she got back when she was twerking at the VMA’s and rapping about wearing Jordans, now she’s proved herself a hypocrite by having the audacity of going near the hottest song in the country, which so happens to be Cardi B’s, which so happens to be hip-hop.
Yesterday on Fallon, while participating in ‘the musical genre challenge’ — a game where you remix a popular song in a different genre — she lands “Bodak Yellow.”
Now, many would say that it wasn’t her fault or that she had no control over where the generator would land, but that does nothing more than spreading the blame.
And in that case, there’s enough blame to go around.
Call it extreme, over the top, sensitive, or whatever you want, but the simple truth is if one producer, programmer, engineer, or anyone who put that show together understood what it meant to have someone use your culture for profit then denigrate something you cherish, they would not have given her an opportunity to come close to that genre.
Bangerz went on to sell 1 million copies, out-selling her 2010 studio effort Can’t Be Tamed by a landslide. Now, that her new album Younger Now is out, she’s moved on, decidedly satisfied from what she’s sucked out of our culture.
If she claims the number one spot, she’d be the first female rapper to do so without a feature in 20 years.
Right now the only thing in her way is Taylor Swift. Swift has held the number one spot for three weeks now with her new song “Look What You Made Me Do” but is facing major resistance to keep the position.
As Cardi B inches closer and closer to overtaking Taylor, her fans began taking notice, and in turn, began campaigning for her to surpass the multiple Grammy winner.
And the campaigning appeared to pay off. “Bodak” is slated to overthrow Taylor Swift for No. 1 spot on Billboard Hot 100 as the single has continued to show strong digital sales with 30,272 units sold.
It’s almost like Cardi B has a magic touch. Everything about her makes her easy to root for. Even on Love & Hip-Hop where it’s easy to get placed in a bad light, she managed to stand up for herself and made it known where she stood at all times.
These were the things she was doing before television and the music — she would unapologetically speak her mind in a way that commands your attention.
So it was almost as if rooting for “Bodak” was like seeing your homie win, and the support began to spread.
“It’s something I noticed in the last couple years: Every now and then someone has a hit where the energy just feels different every time it comes on. It doesn’t feel like a hit, it feels like a moment.”
The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and could reach platinum not too long after.
Anyone who has taken a second to look past the less than perfect subject-verb agreement, the accent, and the rate of speech would agree that Cardi B has nothing but positivity to share.
Taylor Swift, who last effort sold 9.5 million worldwide and won her Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2014, is not even safe from the goodwill of Cardi B and her inevitable success.
Cardi B is proof that if you apply yourself, using the basic everyday resources around you to be an outlet to whatever talent you have, success is obtainable.
She captured our hearts for the first time on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop.
She was seemingly unbothered on the show, always cracking jokes and making every moment light-hearted and fun amongst the BS.
Throughout the season, she was working on her career and inciting mild messiness, like most of the love and hip hoppers were.
It’s no secret that a majority of the new “artists” in the franchise hit people more than making actual hits. Dare I say, I didn’t expect much?
We all thought Joseline Hernandez was going to pop first. I mean, she was “married” to Stevie J, who has produced everyone from Diddy to Mariah Carey.
I don’t think anyone saw Cardi coming like this, but in the meantime I was cracking up at her IG videos and enjoying her funny clips off the show.
I’d be lying if I said that “Bodak Yellow” was the first song I heard from Cardi B.
It was actually “Lick.” I can’t lie, I’m kind of a musical snob. When I’m in the club and everyone starts bopping to a song in unison, I’m reluctant to tag along. There’s a lot of bs out there with good beats.
“Looking like I caught a lick. Run up on me, you get hit. All my b*** with the s***. ”
At first, I’m like damn these lyrics are a bit graphic coming from a female. Okay, I’m looking like I caught a lick. I guess that meant I look good. Okay, I love looking good.
I’m a black girl from the ‘burbs, you know? We love some good trap music. It’s our culture.
But, we also like to keep it cute. I counted it out as being “too hood for me” in true bad and bourgeious fashion. (Even though I can be captured often listening to the likes of 21 Savage, Kodak Black, and Young Dolph.)
For some reason, it’s different when it’s coming from a girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love Remy Ma, who is also from the Bronx and rough in her delivery, but the narcissist in me was drawn to her off “Conceited.” I like Nicki Minaj too despite the hype, but she always kept that sassy flair going that kept me interested.
I didn’t give Cardi a real chance with my ears off the chorus on “Lick” alone and her Love & Hip Hop resume. I wrote it off in my head as filth, encouraging chicks to beef and fight. At this point in my life, I’m much more into feeling like I’m prime rib and motivated to get my coin.
Then…I heard Bodak Yellow. It was like…a bad bih hymn.
“I don’t gotta dance, I make money moves.”
I thought to myself. I make money moves. I go to dinner and cop the steak. I see people and don’t speak. I don’t know a chick that works as hard as me. OMG I *AM* CARDI B!
When music gets in your soul, you simply can’t control yourself. I started to feel Cardi B on a spiritual level. My head started knocking and I couldn’t stop it.
Then, I started pointing to an imaginary hater. The hook, hooked me. Before I knew it, I had my hand up to the sky mimicking the lyrics and lining my hands up, making invisible rows in front of me. These were all the signs of a hit song.
This is the effect Cardi B has. It took me some time and watching her interviews to realize she was just speaking her truth all along.
We all had to connect with her in our own way. I actually just had an argument with some chicks from Brooklyn on whether or not she has a speech impediment. We came to the conclusion that she’s simply Caribbean and from the Bronx, she was destined to talk with her tongue. (Sorry in advance to my cousins out on Fordham Rd.)
“Bodak Yellow” instantly became the Summer ‘17 anthem. Every event I went to, Cardi had everyone locked in.
It was everyone’s background music on their Snapchat. I even caught guys riding around blasting it. It was no surprise to me that it went certified gold.
Not only did Cardi get the gold hardware, she got the praise too. She performed at the VMAs, I caught her on the Wendy Williams Show performing on her birthday episode, and Drake brought her out during his OVO Fest in Toronto. Migos, and her dude Offset, invited Cardi to their Veld Festival. To say the least, everyone wants a piece.
I’m not afraid to say I was wrong about sis, but I won’t be sleeping on Cardi anymore. You shouldn’t either. She might just chill with your boo.
It’s been a wild couple years for Cardi B, real name Belcalis Almanzar. After dropping out of college and being fired from her job as a deli worker, Cardi started working as an exotic dancer uptown.
She coupled her dancing with her wild, no-holds-barred attitude and quickly became an Internet and social media celebrity.
After gaining hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram (she now has over 7 million), Cardi went on to host events at nightclubs and just generally be a social media #influencer on the scene in New York.
In 2015, Cardi joined the cast of Love & Hip-Hop: NewYork.
Cardi B was a source of quick-witted one liners, but also profound wisdom on Love & Hip-Hop and she soon become a cult star.
Watching any of Cardi B’s interviews or her clips from Love & Hip-Hop, it’s clear why people gravitate towards her.
The BX native is an infectious personality and the attention she’s gotten is clearly based off that glowing persona, but “Bodak Yellow” is also kiiiiinda hot.
Peep the music for “Bodak Yellow” below.
With her flow semi-mimicking Kodak Black’s “No Flockin,'” over a trappy beat, people like A-Trak are calling it the song of the summer.
Hear it from the man A-Trak himself.
Look at her crowd in Virginia Beach last week singing the entire song without even a pip from Cardi herself.
This is what the hottest track in the world right now looks like.
“There are so many great New York artists that be like, ‘Oh this new music is trash, this and that.’ Well, unfortunately for you, it’s what’s selling. So… 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.”
Cardi’s perspective is a breath of fresh air in the rap game, even if she’s admitting to catering her style to sell as many records as possible. That kind of honesty is pretty rare from an artist these days.
It’s also notable that she’s a young (still 24!) woman in a genre of music that can be pretty harsh on woman acts.