Who is Cardi B? The first female rapper to top US Billboard charts in over 20 years

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She’s making waves in the US, but you might not have heard of her… yet. A report by Harriet Pavey for the Evening Standard.

This week she made history by becoming the first female rapper in more than twenty years to take the number one spot in the US Billboard chart.

Knocking Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do off the top spot, Cardi B was applauded by female rap superstars all over the world, and Swift even sent her flowers.

The New York rapper’s song Bodak Yellow is the first female solo rap song to take number one since Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop (That Thing) back in 1998.

If you haven’t heard of her you’re not uncool – yet. Cardi B is still relatively unknown in the UK, but not for long.

So just who is Cardi B?

Born Belcalis Almanzar, the 24-year-old is a hip hop recording artist and TV and social media personality.

She’s from the Bronx in New York City. Her family is of Caribbean descent, hailing from Trinidad & Tobago and Dominica.

Her parents nicknamed her Bacardi as a testament to her Caribbean heritage.

How did she get famous?

Cardi B has been open about her career as an exotic dancer, which she pursued from the age of 18. Documenting her experiences on Vine, she was an online hit.

She quit stripping when she was 23, but became a social media personality for her frank 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 b*tches 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’.”

In 2015 she was propelled to fame after joining reality show Love and Hip Hop: New York, which documents the lives of hip hop musicians, performers, managers and record producers.

Cardi B left after two seasons to pursue her music career.

And it clearly worked: Bodak Yellow became the surprise rap anthem of this summer in the US, earning her the seal of approval from the likes of Nicky Minaj and Miss Elliott.

Why is her new song so great?

Listen for yourself:


Is she coming to the UK?

Yes: Cardi B will cross the pond to perform at live Spotify event Who We Be on 30 November at Alexandra Palace.

Where can I follow her? 

Cardi B boasts 10 million Instagram followers on her iamcardib account. She’s also on Twitter at @ImCardiB

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