The Multi-talented Artist Continues to Surpass Expectations
By Nelson Santana
January 9, 2018
The multi-talented artist, Cardi B, continues to surpass expectations through her continued shattering of the glass ceiling. On Tuesday, Billboard published an article announcing that the 24-year-old became the first rapper—including both men and women—to land three consecutive Top 10 singles in Billboard's Hot 100. To put this gargantuan feat into perspective: not Jay Z, not Beyoncé, not Mariah Carey, not Elvis Presley, nor Michael Jackson ever accomplished it; only the Beatles and Ashanti have done it, meaning that Cardi B is only the third act do so.
Of Dominican and Trinidadian descent, Cardi B’s notoriety in the music scene is having meaningful impact thus creating ripple effects across cultures. The American artist burst onto the scene with her music and style, impacting a multitude of communities including African American, Caribbean, and mainstream U.S. culture. Her popularity continues in the tradition of Caribbean-descended artists who previously burst onto the mainstream including Bob Marley (Jamaica), Grandmaster Flash (Barbados), Wyclef Jean (Haiti), Rihanna (Barbados), Nicki Minaj (Trinidad), and Anthony Romeo Santos (Dominican Republic). Proud of her Dominican roots, Cardi B recently announced in Spanish via Instagram that she is open to recording with Fefita La Grande, the most popular female artist in Dominican history.
There are certain qualities that attribute to Cardi B’s meteoric rise to fame. First, she is as real as one can get, meaning that although she controls her own destiny including what she allows to filter to the public, she is someone who provides a lens for the world to see her, including during private or intimate moments. Whether through her own lyrics or via interview, Cardi B has no qualms about discussing her time as an erotic dancer. In fact, she inspires people—especially women and girls—through her personal life story. Cardi B is proof that one does not need to be ashamed about the line of work one is in, especially if it is about putting food on the table. Also, she has proven that when the chips are down, one just needs to set goals and eventually overcome whatever obstacles stand in one’s way. For example, she was kicked out of her parents’ home, yet overcame that adversity.
Perhaps the greatest quality to Cardi B is her uniqueness, as she is not someone who can easily be squeezed into a box—nor would she allow it! Her multicultural background as Dominican and Trinidadian (child of immigrants), her bilingualism, and experience as a New Yorker are a major component of her identity. The combination of her identity just makes her relatable to so many people.
Cardi B ended 2017 on a high note, while the new year started with a bang. Already, she has become one of the most coveted artists of recent times, penning and recording hit singles with artists such as Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and urbano sensation Ozuna. In the final weeks of December, Cardi B and Ozuna debuted the music video for “La modelo,” which this week debuted at number 3 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs and 52 on the Hot 100 (and number 14 on ESENDOM’s Top 25 list). Renowned artist Bruno Mars thanked Cardi B via Instagram for collaborating with him on the remix of the hit “Finesse.” The music video was released on Bruno Mars’ official YouTube page on January 3 and has already amazed over 38 million views—on a side note, Mars does have over 18 million subscribers on the YouTube platform.
Born Belcalis Almanzar (October 11, 1992), Cardi B is a hip hop recording artist, social media and television personality. Prior to breaking into the music industry, Cardi B spent approximately four years as a Vine and Instagram celebrity. She rose to prominence in 2017 with the hit single "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)," in the process dethroning Taylor Swift in the Billboard Hot 100 and making history by becoming the second female rapper to score a solo song (Lauryn Hill accomplished the feat in 1998). Born in the Bronx to a Trinidadian mother and Dominican father, Cari B's stage name derives from the Bacardi brand, one of the largest privately held, family-owned spirits companies in the world. Her sister is named Hennessy and people within her circle referred to Cardi as Bacardi, thus using the name on her social media accounts. Cardi B notes the accounts were often closed—most likely at the request of the Bacardi brand—and eventually settled on the stage name Cardi B, a play on Bacardi. The following are excerpts taken from interviews:
Cardi B in her own Words
Where she prefers to spend her time when not on the road
“I live in a beautiful condo, it’s very big, it’s very beautiful, but it’s so empty and boring. My grandma’s house is very, very tiny but it’s just a certain happiness there…It’s crazy ‘cause it seem like a lot of people in my grandma’s house, they have financial problems but they still happy as fuck.”— The Fader
On where her artistic name came from
“My sister’s name is Hennessy…So everybody used to call me Bacardi. So I used to call myself Bacardi, right? And then it was my Instagram name: Bacardi, Bacardi B. But for some reason my Instagram kept getting deleted, and I think it was Bacardi that had something to do with it. So I just shortened it to Cardi B.”—The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Cardi B fears failure
“If you go broke and lose your career, it's bad – and everybody is talkin' shit about it! At least if you lose your 9-to-5 you don't got millions of people judging you and talking shit while you lost your job."—Rolling Stone
On being taken seriously as a rapper
Everything I do, I take seriously. Everything, everything, everything. Everything I do takes me time. I don’t want people to think I became a rapper because I was on Love and Hip Hop. There are a couple of songs that are on the mixtape that I been did before Love and Hip Hop, it just wasn’t completely perfect. It wasn’t completely perfect and everything takes time. It took me like a year to complete the mixtape. Everything I do, it takes a lot of time for me to do it because only the best sells, you know? If you want people to take you seriously, you gotta do the best. For example, my eyeshadow line. I been planning, been talking about it for a year, and it still hasn’t released yet because it’s not the way I want it to be. It has to be extremely perfect. Only great things sell.—Vibe
Nelson is the producer at ESENDOM and he splits his time between New York and the Dominican Republic. He loves comics as much as he loves bachata and típico. He is currently an assistant professor and collection development librarian. His work has appeared in diverse publications including the first translation project pertinent to the writings of Juan Pablo Duarte. Feel free to hit him up at nelson.santana[at]esendom.com.