Rapper the game on dating
She started to release music, and the music was surprisingly, bullishly, good.
The rise of the twenty-four-year-old Cardi B, born Belcalis Almanzar—who earlier this week became the first solo female rap act to top the Billboard charts since Lauryn Hill, in 1998—is dizzying; it’s almost like a fairy tale, according to the Ringer’s Lindsay Zoladz.
To male rappers, the strip club is a temple, an affirmation of their prowess; Cardi B turned the strip club into a site of feminine ingenuity.
(“I don’t dance now, I make money moves,” she raps in the haughty hook of “Bodak Yellow.”) Rap fans can be conservative, wanting artists to be monkish about their dedication to the craft; Cardi B squeezes in verses among club appearances, fashion shows, parties, and Fashion Nova Instagram advertisements.
(Of all her videos, the ones I adore the most show her in a messy, friendly kitchen, swinging her tiny grandmother around to the rhythm of old-school merengue.) She speaks with a first-generation, mixed-up island twang.
In the early two-thousand-tens, Almanzar was working at the Amish Market in the Financial District, making two hundred dollars a week—“Everything is, like, organic,” she recalled in one interview—when her manager suggested to her that she work across the street, at Private Eyes.
(As of today, she has more than ten million followers.) “It’s cold outside, but I’m still looking like a thotty ’cause a ho never gets cold,” she said, twirling, in a body-con skirt and a flimsy bra top, in one popular video from 2015. There was even a weird musicality to her chosen stage name—a play on Bacardi, after the rum; her younger sister, also an Instagram star, is named Hennessy.
(Speaking to Rawiya Kameir, Cardi B said that she wants Hennessy to find ways to monetize her Internet popularity: “Don’t fuck up the formula.”) Even as Cardi B joined Mona Scott-Young’s “Love & Hip Hop,” franchise, she made it riotously clear that she was still the “regula, degula, schmegula girl from the Bronx.” Earnest as it may sound, Almanzar’s straight talk about perseverance felt authentic.
Scheduled to take place today starting at 11 a.m., the giveaways will have Mill’s team handing out birds at four different spots throughout the city.
In August, Drake invited Cardi B onto the stage at the OVO Festival, in Toronto; the following month, a clip of Janet Jackson milly-rocking to “Bodak” mashed up with “What Have You Done for Me Lately” went viral.
By mid-September, “Bodak Yellow” had overtaken Justin Bieber and Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” to become No. Most prognosticators did not expect Cardi B to challenge Taylor Swift, whose comeback single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” a limp, candied missive, had been engineered to dominate both radio and streaming.
On Tuesday, when “Bodak Yellow” officially went to the top of the chart, my windows shook, the track’s bass blasting from double-parked cars outside.
“You know where I’m at, you know I be,” she raps infectiously.