5 Things to Know About Cardi B, The 'Bodak Yellow' Rapper Who Bumped Taylor Swift from the Top of the Charts
Here's everything you need to know about the former reality star who bumped Taylor Swift from the top of the Billboard charts
Move over (for now), T-Swift—there’s a new Queen of Charts in town.
Cardi B has got the whole world bumping her song “Bodak Yellow,” which reached No. 1 on Monday after dropping in June. The flashy, fabulously unfiltered diva, 24, made waves with her performance—and oversized gown—at this year’s VMAs, but many don’t know much about this musical force that exploded from seemly out of nowhere.
Read on for everything you need to know about the former reality star who bumped Taylor Swift from the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
1. She’s Named After Booze—Sorta
Born Belcalis Almanzar in the Highbridge neighborhood the Bronx, she adopted her more famous moniker at a young age in a jokey tribute to her sister. “Her name is Hennessy, so everybody used to be like Bacardi to me,” she said during an appearance on The Wendy Williams Show. “Then I shortened it to Cardi B.” What’s the “B” stand for? Sometimes it’s “beautiful” and other times it’s “bully”—“depending on the day.”
2. She Worked in a Strip Club, and It’s Still Her Favorite Place for a Romantic Date
Cardi began stripping at the age of 19, in an effort to earn money to help escape an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. “I was poor as hell. I was living with my ex-boyfriend that was beating my ass. I had to drop out of school. I was living with his mama, two pitbulls in a bedroom. It was crazy,” she told VladTV. “A lot of people make [stripping] so negative, but it really saved me from a lot of things. I went back to school.”
Though she admits that stripping isn’t for everyone, Cardi admits that it’s still a fun place to visit. During an interview with FADER, she revealed that it’s her favorite place for a romantic night out.
“I’m not the type of person to go on typical dates. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, let’s go out to dinner, let’s go out to eat, let’s go bowling!’ I’m the type that’s like, ‘Babe, I wanna go out today. Let’s go to the club!’ I love the strip club. I like to see girls make money, I like to throw money. That’s what I like. I like to go to clubs for a date so I can drink and then I get f—ing crazy later. Best date ever.”
3. She Stole the Show on VH1’s Love and Hip Hop: New York
After earning fame on social media with viral Instagram and Vine videos, Cardi broke mainstream in 2015 when she was cast on the VH1 reality juggernaut Love and Hip Hop: New York. The two-season stint focused on the trials and tribulations of her relationship with an incarcerated boyfriend, known as “Tommy.” Despite discussing plans to marry her beau while behind bars, the relationship ultimately fell apart. (She’s now dating Offset of the hip hop collective Migos.)
Over the course of her time on the series, she earned a reputation as quick-tempered, no filtered firecracker—as evidenced by the time she threw her ultra chunky Gucci heels at a foe during a reunion special.
4. She Announced Her Bid for the Presidency in 2016 (with a NSFW Video)
Obviously we know that the 2016 election turned out a little differently, but hey—few thought she’d ever bump T-Swift from No. 1. Maybe a bid for real in 2020 is in the cards?
5. She’s the Second Solo Female Rapper Ever to Top the Billboard Singles Chart
With her smash “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B has made history as the second solo female rap artist ever to top the charts. She follows in the footsteps of Lauryn Hill, who scored a No. 1 in 1998 with “Doo Wop (That Thing).” Only four other female rappers have ever topped the Hot 100: Hill, Lil’ Kim’s collaboration with Christina Aguilera, Mya, and P!nk on 2001’s remake of “Lady Marmalade,” Shawnna featured on Ludacris’ 2003 No. 1 “Stand Up” and Iggy Azalea 2014 track “Fancy.”
After learning of her incredible achievement, Cardi shared a video of the moment she learned she was No. 1. Overjoyed, she couldn’t resist belting out lines from “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift’s single she’d just booted from the top spot.
Her label, Atlantic Records, celebrated with a toast and Louboutin shoe cake inspired by her song lyrics, “red bottoms… bloody shoes.” More well-wishes flooded in from celebrities, including fellow rap queen Nicki Minaj. “Congratulations to a fellow NEW YAWKA on a RECORD BREAKING achievement,” she tweeted. “Bardi, this is the only thing that matters!!! Enjoy it.”
Swift herself offered her congratulations, sending an oversized bouquet. Cardi showed her appreciation on Instagram. “Sooo beautiful and lovely,” she captioned a photo of the gift. “Thank you @taylorswift for the flowers 💐❤️❤️….and I freaking love your music.”
“I’ve always been a fan,” she told PEOPLE Tuesday evening. “When I knew it was me and her competing for that No. 1 spot, I was like, ‘Oh why it have to be Taylor Swift?!’ I love her.”