Inside Cardi B's Struggle To Fame That Only A Few Know
In 2018, she was named one of the most influential people in the world by ‘Time’ magazine. Love it or hate it, but Cardi B has undeniably become one of the fastest-rising stars - and now one of the most successful female celebrities - in the music industry. It was only a year ago that the ‘Bodak Yellow’ rapper made her first Grammys red carpet debut - taking Cardi B from a Grammy novice to becoming one of the most nominated women at this year’s ceremony. Although not many are aware, the star’s path to fame wasn’t an easy one. Let’s take a look at how Cardi B used her publicity, fame, and talent (whether it was good or bad) to achieve success.
HER ACTUAL NAME
We’ll start off with the basics - true fans will already know that Cardi B isn’t the star's real name. The singer’s moniker is actually much longer: Belcalis Almanzar, which is a Spanish translation of Arabic words. Interestingly enough, her nickname didn’t originate from her birth name - the two are completely unrelated. The inspiration? Bacardi (the rum brand).
"My sister's name is Hennessy," Cardi B explained in an interview with Jimmy Fallon. "So everyone used to call me Bacardi, and I started calling myself Bacardi," which was shorted to Cardi B.
DIFFICULT PAST AND UPBRINGING
Born and raised in the South Bronx, the rapper credits the hood and her upbringing to her current fame and success. “It’s a great experience," she told 'AM New York' of her life growing up in the South Bronx. "I wouldn’t be able to rap about the things that I rap about now [if I hadn’t grown up there]."
However, the rapper wasn’t always involved in the music industry. Little do people know that Cardi started with a regular job like most of us - working at a cash register in an Amish Market, making $250/week. After being fired at the age of nineteen, the singer decided to pursue a different career path - thanks to the suggestion of her market manager - and became an exotic dancer after dropping out of college.
“He was like, ‘You’re so pretty, you got a nice body,'" Cardi told Fader. "He told me to go across the street to New York Dolls, the strip club. That’s when I started stripping."
Instead of shying away from the subject and her past, Cardi B positively speaks about how stripping actually helped her get to where she is today. In fact, stripping was the one thing that saved the singer from an abusive relationship, domestic violence, and poverty. In a 2016 interview with 'VLAD TV', the singer mentioned: "I was living with my boyfriend who was beating my a$$. Stripping gave me my own money to leave him." The singer now had the chance, and the money, to finally invest in her music and pursue her rapping career.
RISE TO STARDOM THROUGH 'LOVE & HIP HOP: NEW YORK'
Although the rapper was able to build her Instagram account large enough to make a career out of it, Cardi B’s launching pad to fame can be highly credited to her involvement in the 'VH1 show'. After joining the cast for the sixth and seventh seasons, the rapper went viral and became an Internet celebrity through Instagram and other social media platforms. One of her most iconic, memed lines that started the viral trend was: "A girl have beef with me, she gon' have beef with me... [dramatic stare] foreva." Essentially, this paved the road for endless Cardi B memeing.
SLAYING THE RAP INDUSTRY
The real breakthrough and commercial success began with what an editor from the New York Times called “the rap anthem of the summer” - her debut single “Bodak Yellow.” The song climbed the charts and reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and kept that spot for three weeks. Finally, Cardi B received her first win at the '2017 BET Hip Hop Awards' for Single of the Year.
The singer has been breaking records ever since - Cardi B has sold over 34 million records in the US alone. Her awards include (and aren’t limited to!) a Grammy, three American Music Award, three MTV Video Music Awards, nine BET Hip Hop Awards, a Billboard Music Award, and two Guinness World Records. For someone who dropped out of college and used to work at a cash register - this kind of growth is something admirable.
TENSION, FEUDS, AND DRAMA
From meeting her long-time idol Lady Gaga and receiving flowers from Taylor Swift, fame brings its pleasant surprises - but the negative press, gossip, and drama are inescapable. Especially when you’re already this controversial.
One of Cardi B’s most famous feuds began with fellow rapper Nicki Minaj. Despite denying their beef for months, the stars reached their breaking point and the tension won over, resulting in an infamous brawl during 'New York Fashion Week' in September 2018. The exact reason and details still remain a mystery - but according to multiple sources, it most likely had something to do with Minaj speaking badly about the rapper’s child. To which Cardi B responded by throwing her shoe at Minaj.
After suffering from numerous public ups and downs, one of the most controversial subjects in the celebrities life is her on and off marriage with Migos rapper Offset. 2018 marked the year of the cheating scandal after Offset was allegedly caught on video with another woman. Although the press, publicity, and rumors were inescapable, Cardi B has made it clear that her decision to stay with the rapper is nobody’s business but their own. The rapper stated in an interview with ‘Cosmopolitan’: “...I want to work out my s**t with my man, and I don’t got to explain why. I’m not your property. This is my life.”
The pair’s current status is unclear though - after announcing a split and divorce multiple times, and Offset quite aggressively and publicly attempting to win the star back, the couple apparently rekindled their relationship during a recent vacation. The two walked the recent Grammy Awards red carpet together as well - sounds like they are still working on their marriage.
Despite all the negativity, it’s important to remember that fame isn’t all bad. The singer received support from multiple stars, ranging from fellow singer Halsey and rapper Missy Elliott, and of course her beloved fans. Most importantly, the rapper’s rise to stardom gave Cardi B the opportunity to meet her teenage idol - Lady Gaga.
Cardi couldn’t help but freak out when meeting the award-winning singer, and the admiration is evident in the pictures. "When I was a teenager Lady Gaga changed my life," she wrote on Twitter. "She inspired me to be myself & be different." Gaga (finally) responded two years later, in April 2018: "Love you girl."
WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2019
Cardi’s current net worth? $8 million and counting, all which can be credited to her chart-topping songs, performances and public appearances. Fans love the rapper for her funny, candid interview responses and outgoing public demeanor.
In fact, Cardi recently confirmed that we’ll be hearing, and seeing, more of the rapper in 2019. She stated during an Instagram live: "Of course there's going to be an album in 2019," adding "...I feel like I'm going to be extremely, extremely busy." Let’s keep our fingers crossed for another chart-topping hit in the making! What do you think? Does the star's musical career have a promising future? Let us know in the comments!