Queen of the Charts
Even if rap is gradually getting less macho (thank-you Drake and Frank Ocean), making it as a woman in that genre remains a serious challenge. But Cardi B is succeeding hands down even though she only joined the game two years ago. Her aggressively percussive hit tune Bodak Yellow which refers to her past as a lap-dancer, got to number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100. And it’s the best-selling female rap track since Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda released in 2014. The last time a girl rapper hit the number 1 spot was Iggy Azalea in 2014 (for Fancy). And this year the only rap artist to climb the first step of the podium was Kendrick Lamar with Humble. The very cinematic video for Bodak Yellow, involving a leopard, a desert, fire, latex and a neon green djellaba has already racked up 170 million views on YouTube. As the chorus belts out, “I don’t dance, I make money moves”.
A cartoon character
Like a sort of hybrid of Lil Kim, Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj, Cardi B (Belcalis Almanzar is her real name) has invented herself as a highly colourful character who changes her hairstyle, tinted glasses, Louboutin heels and printed mini dresses as often as her Twitter status. At New York Fashion Week, she was a cause celebre wherever she went, posing for a photo with Beyoncé and performing for Alexander Wang. Incredibly active on the social networks, the young woman first came to light in 2011 as she humorously recounted her life as an ex-stripper in videos she posted on the net. Once established as a digital star, she then appeared in the real TV show Love & Hip Hop on VH1 where her filthy punchlines about drugs, sex and feminism became cult. In 2015, she used her art of formulation and flow to become a rapper. A year later she released her second mixtape, the perfectly named Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1, which was an instant success