Cardi B's Rollercoaster Year: From Megahits to Becoming a Mom to Black Tie Brawls
From massive hits to motherhood, black-tie brawls to Super Bowl spots, Cardi B has had a rollercoaster year. Look back at every single thing that happened ahead of her appearance at the Grammys
It’s been a wild year for Invasion of Privacy rapper Cardi B, who made headlines with multiple Billboard Top 10 hits and subsequent Grammy nominations – and stayed in them, thanks to everything from relationship drama to explosive feuds with other music industry powerhouses.
Before she arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, at which she’s nominated for five awards including album of the year, take a look back at her unprecedented year in the spotlight.
February 2018: Denying a Pregnancy
Cardi bluntly shut down rumors she was expecting a baby after sharing a video of herself dancing on Instagram got fans talking. “Is there maybe a Kylie Jenner secret that we need to know about lol Just asking,” a fan commented on the clip, implying that the rapper looked pregnant.
“No bitch I’m just getting fat. Let me fat in peace,” the star replied. (Cardi would go on to welcome a daughter in July.)
February 2018: Starring in a Super Bowl Commercial
The star made a splash in a spot that aired during the 2018 showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.
The Amazon ad, in which the rapper replaces smart home speaker voice Alexa, ended up ranking the highest of the night among consumers and marketing experts. (In 2019, she went two for two: She brought her signature “Okurrrr” catchphrase to a giant Pepsi promo.)
February 2018: Stealing the Show at the NBA All Star Game
Cameras captured Cardi grooving to her own hit song, “Bartier Cardi,” while watching the Feb. 18 game from her court-side seat.
It was, once again, a perfectly meme-able moment from the star.
February 2018: Standing by Offset Amid Infidelity Rumors
Speaking to Cosmopolitan, she opened up about the pressure to leave her partner as rumors swirled that he’d cheated.
“It’s like everybody is coming down my neck like, ‘Why are you not leaving him? You have low self-esteem.’ I don’t have low self-esteem … I know I look good. I know I’m rich, I know I’m talented,” she said. “I know I could get any man I want — any basketball player, football player. But I want to work out my s— with my man, and I don’t got to explain why. I’m not your property. This is my life … I’m going to take my time, and I’m going to decide on my decision … It’s not right, what he f—ing did — but people don’t know what I did, ’cause I ain’t no angel.”
March 2018: Hanging With Madonna and Kim Kardashian West
The stars formed a trio of icons at Madonna’s Oscars bash, where Cardi took the stage.
“I can’t even believe I performed at her event and it was the most meaningful performance ever,” Cardi wrote about meeting Madonna, her “real life IDOL,” on Instagram. “I grew up with my mom listening to Madonna for hours. I performed Material Girl freshman year in High school, listen to her on all my photo shoots to have super confidence and always mentioned her in my interviews. The best part about it is she was everything I thought she would be a Liberal Kick ass feminist bitch 😱😱I’m soo happy.”
April 2018: Releasing Her Debut Album
The world was gifted Cardi’s debut studio album, Invasion of Privacy, on April 5.
She celebrated the milestone with an album party at New York City’s Common Ground. “I put it on the album cause that’s the song that made me rich motherf—er,” she joked at the bash about her ubiquitous smash “Bodak Yellow.”
April 2018: Revealing Her Pregnancy on Saturday Night Live
The star finally confirmed that the rumors were true while making her debut on the late night sketch show.
Wearing a tight white dress, she revealed her baby bump as she took to the stage to sing “Be Careful.”
“I’m finally free,” she said in a backstage video after leaving the stage.
The baby-to-be would be the first for Cardi and the fourth for partner Offset.
April 2018: Making her Coachella Debut
Cardi made her grand debut at the music festival just one week after announcing her pregnancy.
“I’m running out of breath. You know my pregnant ass,” she joked on stage.
Despite the jest, Cardi delivered an energetic performance that received rave reviews.
May 2018: Her First Met Gala
Cardi arrived at fashion’s biggest night in a lavishly bejeweled Moschino by Jeremy Scott ensemble, with the designer accompanying her in a matching look.
A jeweled crown topped off the regal ensemble.
May 2018: Clapping Back at Azealia Banks & Deleting Her Instagram
Cardi took a step back from her social media accounts after being criticized by a fellow rapper.
“Two years ago, the conversation surrounding black women’s culture was really reaching an all-time high,” Banks said during a visit to The Breakfast Club. “There was just this really, really, really intelligent conversation going on nationally and then everything just kind of changed and then it was like Cardi B.”
“I’m just talking about this caricature of a black woman that black women themselves would never be able to get away with,” she continued. “Like, if my spelling and grammar was that bad, I’d be canceled. If Nicki Minaj spelled like that, we would be ragging on her all day.”
The “Money” songstress defended herself in Instagram comments that were captured by The Shade Room.
“I’m from the hood. I speak how I speak. I am how I am. I did not choose to be famous — people choose me,” she wrote. “People followed me on Instagram and the people gave me a platform to introduce my talent. I never asked to be an example or a role model. I don’t want to change my ways because I’m famous. That’s what I just mind my business. This coming from a woman that bleached her skin but wants to be an advocate? Goodbye. I’m not apologizing or killing myself because of who I am.”
Banks got even more vitriolic when she responded in a series of tweets, targeting Offset’s previous relationships and telling Cardi “You’re a real life episode of Maury sis.”
Cardi replied again in a biting Instagram message before deleting her account:
She made her return to social media a week later.
May 2018: Addressing the ‘Girls’ Controversy
LGBTQ artists including Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani spoke out about the ‘Girls’ single (by Rita Ora single featuring Cardi, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX), calling it problematic and exploitative.
Cardi apologized for causing offense on Twitter, and opened up about some of her own sexual experiences.
“Listen to ‘GIRLS’ by Rita Ora ft me @BebeRexha @charli_xcx. We never try to cause harm or had bad intentions with the song. I personally myself had experiences with other [women], shiieeett with a lot of [women]! I [thought] the song was a good song and i remember my experience,” she wrote.
“I know I have use words before that I wasn’t aware that they are offensive to the LGBT community. I apologize for that. Not everybody knows the correct ‘terms’ to use. I learned and i stopped using it,” Cardi added, referring to a lesbian slur. “My own friends be like ‘I’m a d— ‘ so i never thought it was [an] offensive word. I was like wtf.”
June 2018: Baring Almost Everything on the Cover of Rolling Stone with Offset
The rap couple posed for intimate photos for their sitdown with the legendary magazine. A pregnant Cardi appeared nearly-naked on the cover, with Offset tenderly embracing her bump.
“We really love each other. She’s real. I wanted real. I also wanted successful,” the Migos star said of his love in their joint interview.
June 2018: Confirming that She Married Offset
“This why I name my album Invasion of Privacy cause people will do the most to be [nosy] about your life. Well f— it,” Cardi B tweeted after TMZ reported that she and Offset had secretly tied the knot months prior.
“There are so many moments that I share with the world and then there are moments that I want to keep for myself! Getting married was one of those moments!” she wrote in a message written on the Notes app that accompanied her tweet. “Our relationship was so new breaking up and making up and we had a lot of growing up to do but we was so in love we didn’t want to lose each other, was one morning in September we woke up and decided to get married.”
“Well now since you lil [nosy] f—s know at least ya can stop saying I had a baby out of wedlock,” she ended the message.
June 2018: Throwing a Baby Shower
Fulfilling her promise that her baby shower would be “lit,” Cardi threw an extravagant bash with the theme Bardi Shower: A Bronx Fairytale in Atlanta.
Planner Karleen Roy described the shower’s theme to Vogue as “a magical and imaginary Bronx land fit for the quintessential baby girl … only this time there is a plot twist in this lavish story: It’s a magical, whimsical land, but FOR THE CULTURE!”
Twenty-five thousand flowers were used to create animal sculptures, subway-car models, a 16-foot decorative piece and more for the party. Guests feasted on a five-tier cake covered in flowers, with each tier comprised of a different flavor: red velvet, chocolate ganache, strawberry, honey bun and Dominican pineapple.
The event also featured performances by the Ballethnic dance company and hip-hop orchestra group Orchestra Noir, a children’s book library for the couple’s bundle of joy and a “Bardi Baby Bodega,” where guests could grab snacks and other products.
July 2018: Welcoming Daughter Kulture Kiari
Cardi announced the July 10 birth of her daughter with a nude maternity photo on Instagram.
Later that month, the star broke the news that she’d dropped out of Bruno Mars’ tour to give her body time to recover from giving birth.
“I met my match,” she told her followers via Instagram live two weeks after the birth. “She is very demanding. I can’t believe I have a boss. I really have a boss. When my baby wanna eat, she wanna eat. It’s not like, ‘Oh, three minutes,’ no. ‘Gimme the milk now!’ You gotta burp her right away — everything, everything, everything. She wants everything.”
“There’s this feeling that, as soon as my baby came out, that I have that is just like … I can’t leave my baby at night, not for one second,” she continued. “A lot of people keep telling me, ‘You need to find a nanny because you gotta start working soon,’ and it’s so hard because I want to be with my baby every second.”
August 2018: Hanging with the Kardashians
Kim Kardashian West invited the rapper to her mom Kris Jenner’s house for a “late night house party.”
Cardi joked that the hangout finally made her a part of the “rich people club” on Instagram.
September 2018: Fighting with Nicki Minaj
Cardi was left bruised after getting into a fight with her nemesis at the Harper’s Bazaar ICONS party during New York Fashion Week.
An insider told PEOPLE that Cardi arrived at the event first. After Minaj showed up, there was an “altercation” on the second-floor balcony during a Christina Aguilera performance. “The scene was f—— crazy,” the insider said. “It was entourage against entourage. They had their altercation on the second-floor balcony, right above the red carpet. All of the sudden there was a big commotion and everyone didn’t know what was going on.”
After the incident, Cardi was escorted out by security and was seen leaving the party barefoot with a large lump on her forehead.
Videos of the altercation were posted on social media. In one video, Cardi can be seen making a lunge towards someone, and in another, she can be seen removing her shoe as she repeatedly screams, “I will f— you up!”
The rapper seemed to address the feud in a message she later posted on Instagram:
September 2018: Revealing it was her One-Year Wedding Anniversary
Cardi showed the world the first photo from her secret wedding one year after it took place.
The low-key ceremony went down in their bedroom, according to TMZ, and the only witness, aside from the officiant, was Cardi’s cousin.
October 2018: Ruling the American Music Awards with a Performance of ‘I Like It’
Cardi and collaborators Bad Bunny and J Balvin got the crowd on their feet (and dropping their jaws) with an electrifying performance of their hit.
Cardi also won favorite rap/hip-hop artist at the ceremony, and thanked then 3-month-old daughter Kulture in her speech. “I really want to thank my daughter,” she said. “I was so influenced when I was pregnant with her to be like, I gotta do this; I gotta show people wrong, prove people wrong — because they said I wasn’t gonna make it after I had a baby.”
October 2018: Revealing Pregnancy ‘Broke’ Her Vagina
“It was totally harder,” the rapper said when host Jimmy Kimmel asked if giving birth was as hard as she expected during her appearance on his talk show. “She broke my vagina.”
“Why nobody tells you about those things? Nobody told me they were gonna stitch my vagina,” Cardi added. “People just be like, ‘Oh, you know, when you give birth, it’s gonna hurt.’ But nobody tells you [that].”
Cardi had previously lamented the fact that she has to now tape her breasts to get camera ready:
November 2018: Clapping Back at Jameela Jamil
The Good Place actress called out Cardi for posting a sponsored Instagram for a detox tea. “They got Cardi B on the laxative nonsense ‘detox’ tea. GOD I hope all these celebrities all s— their pants in public, the way the poor women who buy this nonsense upon their recommendation do,” Jamil wrote in a series of tweets.
“I will never s— my pants cause there’s public bathrooms… oooo and bushes,” Comments by Celebs captured Cardi responding in the comments section of a fan account.
December 2018: Sharing the First Photos of Kulture
The proud mama shared the adorable first photo of her little one on Instagram:
December 2018: Announcing Her Split from Offset
In a since-deleted Instagram video, Cardi updated fans on her relationship with the Migos star.
“So everybody been bugging me and everything and you know I’ve been trying to work things out with my baby’s father for a hot minute now,” she said. “We are really good friends and we are really good business partners — you know he’s always somebody that I run to talk to, and we got a lot of love for each other — but things just haven’t been working out between us for a long time.”
“It’s nobody fault I guess we just grew out of love, but we are not together anymore. It might take time to get a divorce and I’m going to always have a lot of love for him because he is my daughter’s father,” she added.
December 2018: Offset Begs to Get Her Back
Two weeks after Cardi confirmed the breakup, Offset crashed her set at the Los Angeles Rolling Loud Festival in an attempt to win her back.
Stagehands rolled out three boxes that spelled out “Take Me Back Cardi” in flowers (which Venus et Fleur priced at $15,000). Then, Offset appeared with a bouquet of white flowers in hand, declaring into a microphone, “in front of the world, I love you.”
After the gesture, Cardi asked fans to stop attacking Offset on social media, telling them that slamming her “baby father” was “not going to make me feel any better.”
The proclamation of love came after Offset pleaded for her to take him back in a video filmed on his birthday.
“I only got one birthday wish and that’s to get my wife back Cardi,” he said. “We’re going through a lot of things right now, a lot of things in the media. I want to apologize to you Cardi. I embarrassed you. I made you go crazy. I was partaking in activity that I shouldn’t have been partaking in, and I apologize. You know what I’m saying? For breaking your heart, for breaking our promise, for breaking God’s promise and being a selfish, messed up husband.”
December 2018: Learning About Her Grammy Nominations as She Left Court
After appearing in court on assault and reckless endangerment charges in connection with an August fight at a strip club in Queens, New York, Cardi was informed by a reporter that she was up for five Grammys.
“I am?” she asked, “How many nominations?”
She then celebrated by sticking out her tongue and saying her signature phrase, “Oweee.”
“This is not How expected to find out I’m nominated for a Grammy 😩😩😂I need a do over,” she later tweeted.
Cardi had to appear in court following the alleged summer assault, when bartenders Baddie Gi and Jade of Angel’s Strip Club claimed that she ordered an attack on them because she believed one of them had been involved with Offset, according to the New York Times and TMZ. A police spokesperson told CNN that Cardi was allegedly “throwing chairs, bottles and hookahs in the club at 3 a.m.”
In October, Cardi surrendered to police and was subsequently arrested and charged with one count of assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. That month, a judge issued orders of protection for the alleged victims.
January 2019: Stopping a Concert to Fix a Wedgie
Proving once again just how much of a relatable superstar she is, Cardi halted her performance at the Mount Maunganui Bay Dreams festival in New Zealand to deal with a wardrobe malfunction.
“Anyways, y’all, I need a little break. I’ll be right back, I gotta take this wedgie out my ass,” she says in a fan video from the show before exiting the stage.
January 2019: Getting Involved in the Government
After Cardi slammed President Donald Trump for his role in the federal government shutdown and his call for some federal employees to return to work without pay, FOX Nation host and commentator Tomi Lahren insulted her on Twitter. “Looks like @iamcardib is the latest genius political mind to endorse the Democrats. HA! Keep it up, guys!” she wrote.
To the delight of her fans, Cardi replied to the tweet, writing, “Leave me alone I will dog walk you.”
Lahren responded to the tweet, telling the rapper that her threat “still doesn’t make your political ramblings any less moronic.”
“You’re so blinded with racism that you don’t even realize the decisions the president you root for is destroying the country you claim to love so much,” Cardi hit back. “You are a perfect example on no matter how educated or smart you think you are you still a SHEEP!”
The spat continued in February when Lahren taunted rapper 21 Savage after he was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reportedly for overstaying his visa.
“Don’t make me get my leash,” Cardi wrote in response to Lahren’s mocking tweet.
January 2019: Revealing that She’s ‘Working Things Out’ with Offset
As she was leaving an N.Y.C. courthouse for the assault case, reporters asked Cardi if she was back together with her estranged husband. “We working things out, baby,” she coyly answered.
In a Harper’s Bazaar interview released the next month, Cardi discussed Offset’s attempt to seek help from a marriage counselor.
“I decided on my own,” she said. “Nobody makes my decisions about my life but me. I didn’t want to go to marriage counseling. He suggested it, but it’s like, ‘I don’t want to go.’ There’s no counselor or nothing that could make me change my mind.”
February 2019: Opening Up About Her Struggle with Postpartum Depression
“I thought I was going to avoid it. When I gave birth, the doctor told me about postpartum and I was like, ‘Well, I’m doing good right now, I don’t think that’s going to happen,'” the hitmaker said in her Harper’s Bazaar cover story, for which she channeled fairytale princesses in a photoshoot. “But out of nowhere, the world was heavy on my shoulders.”
Cardi also opened up about why she waited so long to share a photo of her daughter, explaining, “As soon as she was born, one month in [Offset] was like, ‘She’s so beautiful. Watch how people gonna go crazy.’ ‘Cause a lot of people were saying mean stuff, like that we don’t post her because she’s ugly.”
“He was like, ‘I’m about to post my baby right now,'” she continued. “But then we were very concerned because we were getting a lot of threats, so he said, ‘The world don’t even deserve to see her.'”
The 61st Grammy Awards will take place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 10. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. EST.