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It has been nearly 20 years since a woman MC has topped the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo act. In that time we have had several female MCs attempts to win over pop audiences, with many barely missing the mark. Yes, we have had the likes of Missy and Nicki keep female hip-hop alive, but neither has had a monumental song like Bodak Yellow.
Enter Cardi B
Belcalis Almanzar better known as Cardi B is a 24-year-old MC from the Bronx, NY. Almanzar got her start in the strip clubs dancing to make ends meet. This before her social media personality gained her a core following and led her to star in the sixth season of VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop New York.
It is on Love and Hip-Hop where I first got wind of Cardi B. Before knowing about her prowess on the mic I immediately fell in love with her extravagant personality. During her first season, I tuned in weekly to get a dose of this fun girl from the Bronx.
Soon after appearing Cardi was everywhere, hosting club events, being featur edby top magazines, and even dropping her very first mixtape, 2016’s Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1. The tape was anchored by the viral hit ‘Washpoppin’ which accumulated 4 million views on youtube alone. It was evident that Cardi was destined to be the new Queen of Rap.
After another season of Love and Hip-Hop, Cardi decided to focus on music full-time. Leaving behind all the unnecessary drama from the show. This resulted into her churning out another mixtape a mere six months after the first. Gangsta Bitch Vol. 2 was blessed with the hits “Red Barz” and “Lick” featuring boyfriend, Offset of the Migos. This led to Cardi signing a six-figure deal with Atlantic Records in 2017.
Cardi B’s first release under the Atlantic label was the record Bodak Yellow. Yellow sees Cardi borrowing inspiration from South Florida rapper, Kodak Black. Cardi borrows his flow to boast about the “money moves” she is making.
So Why is this Important?
Because, Cardi B is a Black woman who doesn’t fit the mold of what society deems acceptable for women. She is a former sex worker who got it popping by being her authentic self. Something many male Hip-Hop fans seem to have a problem with.
Many glorify rappers who lie about everything from their past to their finances. Most of these male rappers flaunt having many women and the best cars yet and still get praises for it. However, Cardi never made a record lying about who she is to get spins.
Many of our favorite rappers can learn a thing or two about being who they truly are to win fans. Cardi B being herself is what got her to the top of the charts, making her the first female rapper to do so since Lauryn Hill did it in 1998 with ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)”.