Belcalis Almanzar is a mega-star. Beloved by millions for her honest and often hilarious commentary, Cardi B has used her personality to build an ever-evolving rap career. It's been exciting to watch, to say the least.
Her vertiginous ascent to the top of the Billboard charts is a direct product of her ability to churn out trap-inflected hits that resonate with the culture and occasionally ruffle a few feathers. Cardi has bundles of songs under the belt that slap, some obvious; others are hidden gems. Thanks to the indelible hit that is "Bodak Yellow," Cardi B earned herself a number one spot on the Billboard charts. Since then, the W's have kept coming for our girl.
"Bartier Cardi" ft. 21 Savage
This banger needs no introduction because it seriously speaks for itself--or rather, Cardi does all the talking here. Not long after dropping a glamorous visual to accompany the track, it went platinum and solidified the Bronx MC's status as queen of the charts. Since then, she keeps busy by racking up plaques and winning the rap game ahead of all her competitors.
Originally released in 2016, "Bronx Season" became the opener to Cardi's most recent mixtape Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2. On this extremely hard track, Cardi flexes her independent comeup, making it clear that she's a force to be reckoned with, getting interest from labels, but ultimately held out for a multimillion-dollar deal from Atlantic. The Bronx rapper reps where she's from, making her "New Yawk" accent heard loud and clear in the intro and outro. "Bronx Season" is filled with incredible one-liners, including the absolutely unforgettable "only time I hold my tongue is when I'm suckin' dick."
"Red Barz" turned heads when it dropped. Here the BX native reintroduced herself to her growing fanbase and critics who might have written her off as a gimmick. Cardi delivers hard bar after bar, bombastically bashing her way through the AraabMuzik beat. You can't hate on this track. It's not her best, but "Red Barz" represents an important turning point for Cardi in her career. If you are anything like me, you were probably like, "Damn, she can actually rap".
"WAP" ft. Megan Thee Stallion
Cardi has had some big moments on the internet over her career. However, very few things will top the cultural disruption that "Wet Ass Pussy" created. The Megan Thee Stallion-assisted song gave us memes, Tik Tok dances, great think pieces, and annoying comments from the right. Everyone and their mother were talking about WAP when it came out. Each of the featured rappers traded witty, sexual, empowering, and playful bars filled with innuendos. A pivotal single for both artists, WAP is just another example of how women dominated hip-hop in 2020.
"Cheap Ass Weave"
"Cheap Ass Weave" is perhaps the best example of how Cardi can be both laugh out loud hilarious, and intimidating at the same time. The way the brass horns in the production undercut the oft-repeated mantra 'cheap ass weave' is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, let alone a line like "You know that weave stink / that shit need a Tic Tac." Yet through it all, Cardi still sounds like - first and foremost - a boss, not a comedian.
"Get Up 10"
As the opening track on her debut studio album Invasion of Privacy, this serves as a formal introduction into the complex world of Cardi B. She kicks things off by going extremely hard as she tells the unfiltered tale of her rise to rap stardom behind an aggressive beat that is loaded with energy. Cardi refuses to be ashamed of her past(and specifically her experience as a stripper), but by no means was it an easy walk in her shoes. In the end, she managed to come out on top, and she did it by being her truest self.
"I Do" ft. SZA
This is the collab that we didn't know we needed on Invasion of Privacy, but it is truly a standout as this dynamic duo encourages all the "bad bitches" to leave the deadweights in their lives on read, pull a Call Me By Your Name in the bedroom, and do whatever the fuck you want. Milk your 15 minutes of fame for every second that it's worth.
Cardi B's relationship with the media has been turbulent, to say the least. The NY rapper gets just as much hate as she does love. If she is not being criticized for the content of her music, she is criticized for her visuals. Here on "Press", she's had enough. Cardi B uses the Key Wayne minimal beat to remind her naysayers of all her accolades and to address all the negativity thrown her way. It is ominous, aggressive, and outrageous, quintessential Cardi B.
"I Like It" ft. Bad Bunny & J Balvin
This spicy single climbed its way all the way up to No. 2 and spent a solid 33 weeks dominating the Billboard Hot 100 chart. If you thought the song was playful, the official music video really takes things to the next level as the trio parties like there's no tomorrow. Viva la República Dominicana!
Any song that opens with a slightly menacing cackle is bound to be incredible. On "Stripper Hoe," Cardi calls out people who don't take her seriously and talk down to her because she used to be a stripper. She also shouts out Travis Scott and his hit song "Antidote," positioning herself as a rapper equally capable of a mega-hit. With this fire track, Cardi asserts that she's much more than a former adult entertainer, graciously bestowing upon us the amazing line "every day I'm shittin' on 'em, I don't flush the toilet bowl."
"Lick" ft. Offset
Hip-hop's newest power couple made their musical debut with "Lick" from Cardi's Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2. In the music video set in a casino oozing with old-school glamour, Offset and Cardi are involved in a Bonnie and Clyde-style heist à la Beyoncé and JAY-Z. The partners in crime don diamonds and furs and make major eyes at each other. In an interview with The Fader, the Bronx rapper explained that while the song doesn't "make your dick wet," it can inspire anyone to "catch a lick." One again, Cardi's got her eyes on the prize, spitting inspiring bars about her shmoney moves.
Another hit by the BX native filled with quotables, "Up" is one of Cardi's more opulent tracks. The catchy main refrain paired with the unsurprisingly funny and confident lyrics makes this another Cardi gem worth all the praise. Similar to Drake, the rapper has gone to showcase that she has a talent for creating instantly quotable viral one-liners.
Cardi delivered this perfectly packaged direct deposit anthem in October which proceeded to peak at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, earning the rapper her 20th song to chart and 10th placement in the Top 10. Let's get this money, honey!
You know this song. Your friends know this song. Hell, even your grandma could probably rap a few bars from "Bodak Yellow". Cardi was making waves as a rapper. However, she was far from the megastar that she was today. "Bodak Yellow" is what put her on the map. Cardi's brash, confidence, and distinctive personality ooze forth from the track. It's fun, filled with quotables, and is one of those songs that will have the club going crazy at 1:00 AM. BX all day!
Over the course of her short career, Cardi B's songs have made it abundantly clear she is not someone you should fuck with. This is a position that nearly every rapper must take at one time or another, but she may be the first to tie this sentiment to a pun about pooping (or lack thereof). “But it's all good 'cause when you see my face/ Shit don't come out like it's constipation.”
Btw, Cardi B is an amazing role model, whether you like it or not.