by Madeline Weaver-Nolting ’19
Female rapper and hip hop artist Cardi B is one to watch out for. Her hit song “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” has climbed to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. She is now the fifth female rapper in history to be on top without a featured artist on the track, which has not happened since Lauryn Hill released “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998. She is breaking down barriers in the rap world while discussing feminism and her unconventional beginning in the music industry.
The confident 24-year-old singer, born as Belcalis Almanzar, is from the Bronx and gained fame through her Instagram and Vine accounts. Her social media presence attracted attention and she officially became known as Cardi B. Her audience and followers continued to increase when she starred in in the VH1 reality television series, Love & Hip Hop: New York.
In her music, Cardi B focuses on issues that she faced before she was famous; she is very vocal and defensive about her Dominican and Trinidadian heritage. While some may consider her lyrics to be aggressive, her music portrays the difficulties women face in society. She outlines how she turned her life around against all odds to “make money moves.” She taunts her enemies by showing how her hard work has paid off with her successful career.
What makes Cardi B even more unconventional is her openness about her past of being a gang member and an exotic dancer. She even references this in “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” by saying, “I make bloody moves.” She often discusses hera rags to riches story and has overcome so much.
The title of the song “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” references rapper Kodak Black, who was an inspiration for Cardi B’s lyrics. Something that stands out to listeners is the lack of advertisement and media coverage surrounding the song; the fame behind the hit single revolves around social media. Cardi B said, “I never asked [my fans], they just did it voluntarily, every day harassing their followers like, “Make sure you download and stream ‘Bodak Yellow’—and look what you made me do.”
Cardi B’s music career seemed to come out of nowhere, and with the strength of her social media following, she was able to dethrone Taylor Swift’s single “Look What You Made Me Do” from the Billboard charts. And with a report from Hot New Hip Hop that the rapper may be collaborating with Beyoncé, it is clear that her talent has put her on top.