Rap is a predominantly male genre. The producers, the promoters, the actual rappers, they are almost entirely men. Of course, there have been some great female rappers. Lil Kim
, Missy Elliot
, and Lauryn Hill, to name a few. And for the past eight years or so, Nicki Minaj
has reigned supreme. But recently, a newcomer knocked Miss. Minaj from her throne.
is, in her own words, "just a regular shmegular girl from the Bronx." But with the highest charting song from an unaccompanied female rapper since "Anaconda
," the 24-year-old is anything but regular. Cardi, born Belcalis Almanzar, has always been drawn to the spotlight. She attended performing arts schools as a child, and was often cast in musicals (however, she didn't always perform.) At the ripe old age of 18, Cardi dropped out of college and started stripping to support herself.
When she wasn't dancing, Cardi was on Instagram, where she posted videos
of her being herself: loud, crude, and unapologetically Cardi. She would also occasionally post videos in which she would talk about music she had created, but it always seemed to be in passing. Her larger than life personality and her apparent lack of a filter garnered her hundreds of thousands of followers who wanted to keep up with her crazy antics. She is now up to 8.5 million followers, by the way. VH1 noticed that magnetism, and she was added to the cast of Love and Hip-Hop
After two seasons on the show, Cardi announced she would be leaving to focus on a potential music career. She took to Instagram Live to clarify that she wasn't trying to become a rapper because of the show; the desire was always there, but it never seemed to her like it could be a reality. After leaving the show, Cardi quickly released her first mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1
. Cardi was dissatisfied with the mixtape as it was a hasty attempt to solidify her place in the rap world, and she followed up with Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 2
in January of this year. One song in particular, "Lick" featuring her possible boyfriend Offset
, caught the attention of labels and listeners alike.
Many labels fought to get the Bronx native on their roster, but she found her home at Atlantic Records. On June 16th, Cardi released "Bodak Yellow" her first single through her new label. In the two months that followed, she and the song have blown up. This month, "Bodak Yellow" broke the Billboard Hot 100
Top Ten, and subsequently took Nicki's title. The song currently sits at number 8, up from 14 last week, and it's only expected to go rise. Kodak Black, the inspiration for the name of the song, has expressed his approval for the track. Even Drake
is a fan, he was seen partying with Cardi after having her perform "Bodak Yellow" at his OVO Fest.
Pretty soon this "regular shmegular girl from the Bronx" will take over the whole world.