On stage and to the world she might be known as Cardi B, but the rapper and singer’s real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, born on October 11th, 1992, in Washington Heights, New York City, to a Dominican father and a Trinidean mother. Her stage name is a derivation of the rum brand “Bacardi,” a nickname she previously had. Cardi B began to gain attention thanks to her popularity on social media platforms Vine and Instagram, around 2013. She later was cast in the VH1 reality television series Love & Hip Hop: New York, on which she appeared from 2015 to 2017. Cardi B left the show after two seasons to pursue her musical career; during her time on the show, she had released two mixtapes: Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1 in 2016, followed by a second volume in 2017.
In 2018, Cardi B’s first studio album, Invasion of Privacy, was released and it quickly rose to the top of the charts. The album was a critical and commercial success, making the singer the first person of Dominican ancestry to achieve number one in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 since its creation. Cardi B was also the only woman to win a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album as a solo artist. One of the album’s singles, “Bodak Yellow,” was selected as the best song of 2017 and was even nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance. Her subsequent song collaborations, “No Limit,” with rapper G-Eazy, “MotorSport,” with Nicki Minaj, and “La Modelo,” with singer Ozuna, were also big hits and earned top spots on the Hot 100 chart.
Cardi B’s second single from her debut album, called “I Like It,” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin, became another top ranking song. Many critics have considered it as the “best summer song of all time,” and it made her the first female rapper to have several songs reach top of the chart. The song also became the fifth-best selling song of the year on a global scale. In the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, Cardi B earned 12 nominations, making her one of the artists to receive the most, and won three awards. She was also named as one of “2018 Entertainers of the Year,” and online magazine Entertainment Weekly considered her a “pop culture phenomenon.”
In 2019, Cardi B released the single “Please Me,” which marked her second collaboration with singer Bruno Mars. The song became the seventh one that had reached the Hot 100 top ten ranking. She also made her film debut in the crime comedy-drama Hustlers (2019) and was made a judge in Netflix’s talent search series Rhythm + Flow. In 2021, she joined the Fast & Furious franchise in its ninth installment and is set to appear in the tenth movie, Fast X, in 2023.
Cardi B is considered as one of the most successful and influential female rappers of all time. Aside from being the recipient of multiple accolades over the past decade, Cardi B was named in 2018 by Time magazine as one the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020 was honored as Woman of the Year by Billboard. Cardi B is also the female rapper with the most songs with a billion streams on Spotify— her album is the most-streamed female rap record in the online music platform.