She was an outspoken, no-filter Instagram star, then a reality TV star, and now a rapper with a charting single. It’s safe to say Belcalis Almanzar (Cardi B) has had quite the journey to stardom. Cardi B hails from the Bronx, N. Y. and was raised in Highbridge, a neighborhood that also produced comedian Tracy Morgan and fellow rappers A Boogie and Don Q.
She began her career as an exotic dancer, but her larger than life personality and her penchant for keeping it real made her a viral sensation in 2013. Riding her rising social media fame, she joined the cast of Love & Hip-Hop: New York for their 6th season in 2015. She became a breakout star as the show followed her story through her rise to fame and her relationship with her in-jail fiancé. However, after two seasons she left the show to focus on her music career.
Editor of AllMusic, David Jefferies, called Cardi B “a raw and aggressive rapper in the style of Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown.” While Stereogum referred to her voice as “a full-bodied New Yawk nasal bleat, the sort of thing that you’ve heard if someone has ever told you that ‘you stupid for taking too long at swiping your MetroCard.’” They continued to call her voice “an unabashedly loud and sexual f**k-you New York honk—that translates perfectly to rap.”
Both descriptions translate to her summer anthem “Bodak Yellow.” The song, in both name and flow, draw inspiration from Kodak Black with the song borrowing his flow from “No Flockin.”
The Cardi B track first debuted at 85 on the US billboard hot 100 chart in July. After five weeks on the chart it rose to number 14, later moving to number two and two weeks later number one, overtaking Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.” This made Cardi B the first solo female rapper to reach number one since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop “That Thing” in 1998. She’s also the first artist of the Dominican Republic descent to hold the number one spot on the hot 100 since its inception in 1958.
After her accomplishment she was met with much support from artists like J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliot and Dj Khaled. Even the artist she passed to earn the top spot sent her flowers. With the number one song in the country, Cardi B now has a lot of eyes on her and she has a chance to establish herself as an artist people have to take seriously with a second hit.