Inside Cardi B’s Path from a Stripper to Chart-Topping Rapper

Following an unlikely course of success, Cardi B built her success as a female rapper, starting from her days as a stripper.

When Cardi B broke out with her hit song, “Bodak Yellow” in 2017, she did the unimaginable dethroning Taylor Swift to soar to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Not only did it cement her status as a firebrand rapper, but it also broke records making her the first female rapper to bag the spot in about 12 years.

It earned her first Grammy nomination and paved the way for more impeccable talent. Cardi B has undoubtedly risen to success. However, her humble beginnings started from being a stripper.

Cardi B performs during the 2019 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 16, 2019 in Manchester, Tennessee. | Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images


Born on October 11, 1992, as Belcalis Almanzar, Cardi B was born and raised in The Bronx, New York, by a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother. She spent more time at her grandmother’s home in Washington Heights, which she acknowledges for giving her such a thick accent.

She is of mixed Caribbean heritage, her mother being Trinidadian, and her father of Dominican descent. In her teens, she was a Bloods gang member and attended the Renaissance High School For Musical Theater & Technology, where she dropped out from. 

Cardi B visits the SiriusXM Studios on April 10, 2018, in New York City. | Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Her unique stage name was gotten from the alcoholic beverage “Bacardi.” She explained it during an interview, saying:

“My sister’s name, her name is Hennessy, so everybody used to be like Bacardi to me… then I shortened it to Cardi B, and the ‘B’ stands for whatever… depending on the day.”

Cardi B visits MTV TRL at MTV Studios on April 10, 2018 in New York City. | Photo by MTV/TRL/Getty Images


Her road to being a rapper and reality star wasn’t an easy one. Before Cardi B entered into the entertainment world, she pursued a career as an exotic stripper at age 18 to assist her granny and save herself from her abusive boyfriend. 

By the time she was 21, she had already saved $20,000 and wanted to strip until 25 before quitting. However, she left the job at 23 after becoming an Instagram influencer. With her fame on social media, Cardi B bagged a role on the VH1 reality show, “Love & Hip Hop: New York.”

Her two seasons on the reality television series became her launching pad to success. In 2017, after two seasons, she announced that she would be departing the show to further pursue a career in music. After leaving, Cardi released her first two mixtapes that same year and bagged her major record deal with Atlantic records. 

Cardi B performs at Summer Jam 2019 at MetLife Stadium on June 02, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. | Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

“Bodak Yellow” was a massive hit and reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was released with Atlantic Records in June 2017, and she got her muse from Kodak Black’s 2015 song, “No Flockin.”

It was the song that built her career to where it is now. In 2018, her debut album, “Invasion of Privacy,” was released, and it earned her a Grammy for Best Rap album. She has been featured on several collaborations since then and also starred in the movie “Hustlers.”

Cardi B at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 01, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp


The 26-year-old rapper welcomed her daughter, Kulture Kiari, on July 10, 2018, with her husband, Offset. The pair secretly got married in September 2017, and she announced her pregnancy a day before releasing her debut album.

The rapper was candid about her experience with postpartum depression and how she felt the world on her shoulders. Despite being a celebrity, the star mum said no to hiring a nanny for Kulture, taking her baby girl along with her on tours, or asking her sister or her mum to look after her.

Kulture Kiari Cephus and Cardi B at Teyana Taylor’s “The Album” Listening Party on June 17, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. | Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Def Jam Recordings

Alongside her thriving career, Cardi has been open about how being a mother is the best job ever, proving she is having the best of both worlds.

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