There is no one, absolutely no one, quite like Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar – or as you probably know her, Cardi B. From her assailing, punchy style of one-liner rap to the addictive sound of her mischievous laugh, the Bronx native is truly incomparable.
First finding fame in 2016 as a fan-favorite cast member on VH1’s reality series Love & Hip-Hop, Cardi leveraged her popularity on the show and on social media into a blockbuster music career. Her first mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1, came out in 2016, heralding the arrival of a full-fledged, game-changing superstar.
The rest is history, and a controversial history at that. The former strip-club dancer quickly became known for her raunchy lyrics and empowered swagger – like on her hit Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2 single “Lick,” featuring her now husband Offset, with whom she’s welcomed two children – that had some people shaking their booties and others shaking their heads.
Her almost effortless ability to spark public discourse came to a head in 2020, when she and Megan Thee Stallion teamed up for the Billboard Hot 100-ruling track “WAP.” The sex-positive single had conservative commentators such as Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens clutching their pearls — but obviously, that didn’t stop Cardi from being Cardi.
The “Bodak Yellow” artist herself said it best in her 2020 Woman of the Year interview with Billboard: “I want to show people that you can do positive things, but you can also be yourself. I like justice. I like to work and be creative. But I also like popping my p—y.”
Keep reading for a detailed look at Cardi B’s biggest career highs below: