Sitting in the second spot on the Billboard Hot 100, Cardi B’s fiery single “Bodak Yellow” (2017) packs a punch. Leaving behind her days as an exotic dancer, Cardi celebrates her life now that she has made it big. As a teen, the Bronx native used stripping as a means of supporting her family, but has since earned fame on VH1’s series “Love & Hip-Hop: New York” (2011–present) and now finds herself with 17 consecutive weeks on the charts thus far. “Bodak Yellow” spent three of those in the No. 1 position, making Cardi B the first unaccompanied female rapper to achieve this peak since Lauryn Hill in 1998 with “Doo Wop (That Thing).”
In an interview with Billboard, Cardi described her inspiration: “I’m in a good place right now, and I wanna stunt. I felt it in my soul, like this song is gonna be so poppin’.” The song’s most iconic lines include: “Said, ‘Lil b****, you can’t f*** with me if you wanted to'” and “I don’t dance now, I make money moves.” The anthem promotes self-empowerment and appreciation, both in its lyrics and in the fact that Cardi receives no other vocal assistance.
For comparison, when Nicki Minaj raps, she often teams up with another male rapper, or she is the featured verse herself on someone else’s work. Of course, she has also had solo success, but as the more traditional ‘pop singer’ role, seen in songs like “Starships” (2012) or “Pills N Potions” (2014). Speaking of Nicki, who has had a few feuds of her own, she revealed in a tweet that she does not have any beef with Cardi B, going as far as congratulating the chart milestone. Thank god, because I don’t think we can handle another high-profile drama queen right now. The dueling female rappers recently released “MotorSport” (2017) last week with Migos as co-features. Let’s just hope that Nicki is okay with sharing her throne, because together the two are a force to be reckoned with.
While Cardi’s lyrics are a tad aggressive, she also has a down-to-earth side to her. In videos posted to her Instagram profile, she noted that she realizes she has many younger female fans and that she wants to try harder to be a positive role model — Cardi has openly discussed her involvement with gangs as a teen. She’s also reportedly not about the limelight. She tweeted, “I just want to make music , make money , buy a Mansion & have my babies already ..Then be out… this fame s*** annoying.” AOL Finance estimates the rapper’s worth at about $4 million. Super annoying! Money aside, Cardi’s theatrical personality shines on social media, where she posts about everything from losing her fleece blanket to memes.
Ironically, “Bodak Yellow” knocked out none other than Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” (2017) to secure the top position. Will this be Cardi’s one-hit wonder or is there a lot more to expect from the Bronx rapper? She’s come a very long way and might make some serious moves for the future of female rap.