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Cardi B

Cardi B

Rapper and entertainer Cardi B draws from a seemingly never-ending supply of confidence, charisma, and evisceratingly sharp flows. She broke through in 2017 with her debut commercially released single, "Bodak Yellow," topping the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming the first female rapper to do so in nearly two decades. Her 2018 debut studio album, Invasion of Privacy, followed shortly thereafter, reaching number one and breaking additional records with the summer smash "I Like It." The record also made her the first solo female rapper to win a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Heading into the next decade, Cardi continued to dominate with chart-topping singles like 2020's "WAP" with Megan Thee Stallion and 2021's "Up." She again teamed with Megan Thee Stallion for 2023's "Bongos" before joining Shakira for 2024's "Puntería" and teasing her sophomore album with "Enough (Miami)."

Spitting raw and aggressive rhymes in the tradition of Lil' Kim, Nicki Minaj, and Foxy Brown, the former stripper and social media star born Belcalis Almanzar made her television debut in late 2015 on VH1's Love & Hip Hop: New York, joining a cast that also included fellow New York rapper Remy Ma. A year later, she made her musical debut alongside dancehall singer Popcaan on Shaggy's "Boom Boom" single. The solo single "Cheap Ass Weave" and the mixtape Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1 soon followed in early 2016. Two more singles, "Foreva" and "Wash Poppin'," arrived that summer. A second mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 2, was released in early 2017.

That same year, Cardi B signed with Atlantic Records and scored a hit with the single "Bodak Yellow," which climbed to the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 in late September; it made her the first solo female rapper to do so since 1998. Her chart run continued with features on G-Eazy's "No Limit" and Migos' "MotorSport," two additional Top Ten hits that crowned Cardi as the first female rapper to have her first three entries land in the Top Ten of the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. After the release of her single "Bartier Cardi" with 21 Savage, Cardi hopped onto a remix of Bruno Mars' "Finesse." The new jack swing revival track soared to number three in the U.S. and topped charts across the globe. With these singles, Cardi became the first woman in history to have five simultaneous Top Ten singles on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Her official debut studio album, Invasion of Privacy, arrived in spring 2018. Including her two breakthrough singles, the effort also featured appearances by Migos ("Drip"), Chance the Rapper ("Best Life"), Kehlani ("Ring"), SZA ("I Do"), YG ("She Bad"), and Bad Bunny and J. Balvin on "I Like It." The latter track was issued as a single and made a steady climb to the top of the Hot 100 in July 2018, making Cardi the first female rapper to achieve two number ones. That summer, she was also featured on hit singles with Jennifer Lopez ("Dinero") and Maroon 5 ("Girls Like You"). To cap her banner year, she was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards and Invasion of Privacy was included on numerous year-end critics' lists. The album went on to win a Grammy for Best Rap Album, making Cardi the first solo female rapper to achieve the honor. The next year, she was nominated again in the category of Best Rap Performance for her Offset collaboration "Clout."

In August 2020, she topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with the song "WAP," a collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion. Six months later, Cardi landed another smash hit with 2021's "Up," a drill-inspired solo single that earned global success and topped four different Billboard charts. That same year, she contributed to hits by Normani ("Wild Side") and Lizzo ("Rumors") before returning in 2022 with the Kanye West and Lil Durk collaboration "Hot Shit." "Bongos," a second collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, arrived in September 2023 as the fourth single off Cardi's sophomore album. It landed at number 13 on the Hot 100. That same month, the duo performed the song at the MTV Music Video Awards ceremony. A fifth single, the DJ SwanQo, OG Parker, and Romano-produced "Enough (Miami)," appeared in March 2024. That same month, Cardi joined Shakira for the single "Puntería," off the "Hips Don't Lie" singer's 12th album, Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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