The Come-Up of the Century: Cardi B Style

Cardi B’s come-up in 2017 was incredible. During the summer, she dropped her first huge single, “Bodak Yellow,” which became a huge bop that’s still going strong in 2018. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in a row. Cardi’s the fifth female rapper to ever top the charts. Beyond music, people have become obsessed with her over-the-top personality, which earned her a curated shoe and sunglasses line with designer Steve Madden.

A self-described “regular, degular, shmegular” from the Bronx, Cardi B was really born Belcalis Almanzar — but she obtained her infamous nickname when people called her Bacardi as a counterpart to her younger sister, Hennessey. (Yep, that's her real name.) After high school, Cardi tried to attend college, but she only completed three semesters at a community college. While in school, she worked at a local deli but was ultimately fired because she gave her friends and family too many discounts. If that isn’t the first indication of how relatable she is, then I don’t know what is.

Her next stage was going across the street to New York Dollars, a strip club, after her ex-boss told her that’s what she should do. By 19 (the same age as thousands of underclassmen at UF), Cardi was a huge local celeb within the clubs around the Bronx. When she realized that she could make it big, she took to Instagram. You probably saw her on your Instagram discover page or old Vine account (RIP Vine) as the girl parading around hotel floors with skimpy clothing trying to promote her club appearances. She started to gain a huge following — some half a million followers — when her manager suggested she trade her current life for a rap career.

Cardi started to remix songs and put them on her Soundcloud account, until the casting directors of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop found her and added her to their New York Cast in 2015. This is really when, in the words of Cardi B, things started to “pop off” for her. People immediately loved her; She oozed drama, and if you ever go back to watch the show, you’ll know she never turns down a good fight. Everyone started to remember the name Cardi B. Beyond her music, people became attracted to her loud personality (which includes her notably foul language) and total transparency that definitely has a way of pushing a few boundaries. Although she was one of the audience's favorite, Cardi didn’t stay on the show for long. 

In 2016, Cardi B said goodbye to the VH1 show and dropped her first mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1. Her songs mostly revolve around the "beef" she has with other people.

If you're a fan of Cardi B, you're probably wondering about her relationship with Offset — one of the three rappers in the group Migos. She and Offset first met in 2017 when he was featured on her most popular song “Lick” off her second mixtape named Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 2. With less than a year of dating before their engagement, their relationship was not 100 percent perfect. The two seemed to separate a little before the big proposal, in which Cardi went off in an Instagram story rant, quickly followed by a plea for him to come back. One month later, in Oct. 2017, the two were engaged.

In this same time span, you can probably fill in the gaps. Atlantic Records picks up Cardi B as an artist and “Bodak Yellow” explodes on all the charts, she wins five BET awards and was nominated for two Grammys. Right at the beginning of 2018, Cardi helped remix Bruno Mars’ song Finesse, performed the song with him at the Grammys and he asked her to be his opener for his tour later this year.

Call it what you want, but Cardi B is a force to be reckoned with. She has amazing personality that you just couldn’t imagine until you sit down and watch her interviews. For some odd reason, that is really what makes her so captivating for people. People who could care less about her music are still interested in her success because they know the longer she’s in front of a spotlight, the wilder it’s going to be.

Cardi B is a character who has transformed. From the sassy Bronx stripper with crooked teeth to the sophisticated lady sitting in the front row at Alexander Wang's New York Fashion Week show, she is truly the fairytale come-up of the century.