Why We Should All be Paying Attention to Cardi B
Almost 25 years ago, Belcalis Almanzar was born in the Bronx. About nine years ago, Almanzar began gangbanging as a part of the Bloods street gang. Then six years ago, she turned to stripping as a form of empowerment and a way to escape an abusive relationship she was in at the time. And today? You may know her as Cardi B, the artist who recently became just the fifth female rapper—and the first solo female rapper—to top the Billboard charts since 1998. The song that managed the feat, “Bodak Yellow,” is a remix of Atlantic label-mate Kodak Black’s freestyle, “No Flocking”, and dominated the summer with the likes of French Montana’s “Unforgettable” and Lil Uzi Vert’s (another Atlantic signee) “XO Tour Llif3”.
So why do we think Cardi B is the real deal, and not just a flash in the pan? Well, for starters, Cardi has bars. When she started her rap career, most people didn’t take her seriously. In addition to facing the glass ceiling that all females, especially those in rap, must deal with, she also had to cope with the fact that she was a stripper trying to become a rapper. People simply did not think Cardi had what it took to be a legitimate rap act, but “Bodak Yellow” proved to be a bona fide banger and showed that Cardi can actually rap.
Then there’s the label, Atlantic Records, which was mentioned earlier. Atlantic is one of the largest music labels around, and has recently become an absolute powerhouse in rap, with acts like Lil Uzi, Kodak Black, Gucci Mane, Meek Mill, Wale, Wiz Khalifa, and recently, Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie — better known as the “Cash Me Ousside” girl. This just goes to show that the executives over at Atlantic know what they’re doing, which is probably why they’re executives. This line-up of big time hip hop acts proves that Atlantic excels at creating and identifying acts that can have sustained success, and there is no reason to believe Cardi won’t be one of them.
Finally, there’s the people that Cardi associates with. She has surrounded herself with people that will help her maintain her success. Naturally, she’s in a good position being surrounded by all her fellow Atlantic artists. As it was mentioned earlier, “Bodak Yellow” is a remix of a Kodak Black song (Kodak ended up jumping onto the remix of “Bodak Yellow” in the weird life cycle of this song). Also, last week Cardi found herself on the receiving end of some advice from one of the world’s biggest rappers: J Cole. Last weekend, Cole tweeted out to Cardi, “Don't put all that pressure on your album. You already won. Just drop & repeat.” Then there’s her man, Offset, 1/3 of the Migos who is probably the biggest group in all of hip hop. Now Cardi is no doubt her own woman, and a badass one at that, but having a guy like Offset on her hip surely doesn’t hurt.
Now the music industry is ruthless and unpredictable, so a year from now Cardi could be one of the biggest names in rap —which is what we expect— or she could be long forgotten. Cardi says it in her song, “Dropped two mixtapes in six months, what bitch working hard as me?” Cardi has been grinding harder than just about anyone else in the game. It paid off with “Bodak Yellow” and will (hopefully) payoff for years to come.