Cardi B's debut single "Bodak Yellow" just hit #1 on the Hot 100, here's how it happened.
The Bronx rapper really is the "hottest in these streets."
Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
December 4, 2015: Love & Hip-Hop to Insta-Celeb
Cardi B stars in the 6th season of Love & Hip Hop: New York and her social media accounts start to really blow up, amassing five million followers on Instagram.
Cardi B caught a lot of licks on her come up, quickly pivoting to a 42nd street stripper to a Vine/Insta-celeb, to a reality star, and now to a chart-topping solo female rapper. Emerging from her Highbridge South Bronx roots with a desire to rise above the poverty she was born into, and bring her family along with her, she isn't like every other viral celebrity who expects a gilded sponsorship deal after their 15 seconds of fame. In a feature piece by The Fader, Cardi remarks: "A lot of people think I’m just a dumb a--, like, hoe a-- b-- because I can’t talk English properly and it’s just, like, yo if I was dumb, I would not be in the position that I’m in. It’s just like damn everybody wanna be famous but, like, people don’t realize being famous don’t make you like rich. Like, yo you really gotta work to get rich."
March 7, 2016: GBM Vol. 1
Cardi first began to toe the line between charismatic, big-mouthed reality star and respected rap icon with the release of "Foreva" off of her first mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1. The track was an incredibly lucrative example of Cardi's ability to spin viral catchphrases into lyrical gold. In her early Love & Hip Hop days, she warned a man she was interested in that "if a girl have beef with me, she gon’ have beef with me… foreva." Striking a chord with women around the world who didn't forgive and forget as easily as society instructs them to, "Foreva" started to gain mainstream traction instantly after it was dropped.
January 20, 2017 - February 2017: GBM Vol. 2, Atlantic Signing
Following the success of her followup mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Vol. 2 including a remix feature on "Lick" by Migos rapper and now-boyfriend Offset, Cardi signed a multi-million dollar deal with Atlantic records. In her Fader feature, Cardi recounts her decision to side with the label: "I had a lot of deals on the table but like they gave me the best offer, the one that I don't have to owe them much, and they just gave me a lot of money so I took it," said the "Sauce Boyz" rapper. "They gave the right number, so I chose them. It was significantly more than other [deals]. I heard a lot of good things and they was really eager to work with me so I was just like, if they want to give this money then it's because they're really gonna work hard for me. People don't understand that they signed me because I put out a free mixtape and it sold so much and it was free, like, the numbers don't lie. It's right there."
With label-mates like Kehlani, Curren$y, Missy Elliot and Ty Dolla $ign, Cardi proved she's a force to be reckoned with and a certified rapper, not just a reality star with a smartphone and an Instagram account.
June 16, 2017: "Bodak Yellow" release
Cardi's real come up started when she released her debut single with Atlantic, "Bodak Yellow" inspired by Kodak Black's 2014 hit "No Flockin." Thus, it also felt organic-- and perhaps even surprising, given how quickly it followed suit from her "Lick" remix which boasted a feature from an already-poppin' rapper -- on paper, should "Lick" have blown up first?
The record boasted of her newfound wealth, while reminding listeners that although she now wears designer threads, she's still not someone to fuck with, "Said little b--, you can't f-- with me, If you wanted to/These expensive, these is red bottoms, these is bloody shoes/Hit the store, I can get ’em both, I don’t wanna choose."
June 22, 2017: Hot 100 Entrance
Only one week after its release, "Bodak Yellow" broke through the Billboard Hot 100 and debuted at No. 85.
August 7, 2017: Top 20 Debut
Cardi proved she really does make "money moves" as her hit single "Bodak Yellow" broke the top 20, moving up to No.14 on the Hot 100 Chart. The rapper took to Instagram to announce her success to the #BARDIGANG.
August 14, 2017: Top 10 Debut
"Bodak Yellow" moved to crack into the Top 10, jumping from No. 14 to No. 8 in just one week.
September 1, 2017: "Bodak Yellow" Goes Gold
September would prove to be an incredible month for Cardi B, as she made an Instagram announcement once more regarding the success of "Bodak Yellow." Captioning a screenshot of the streaming charts, Cardi wrote, "Number 1 song streaming in the country thank you motherfuckers :')💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉Thank you for streaming ,buying ,spinning and sharing THANK YOU BARDIGANG....my project will be coming soon 😜😜😜."
The single also went GOLD on the SAME. DAY.
September 2, 2017: Top 3 Debut
"Bodak Yellow" holds its own at No.3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a meteoric (and unheard of) rise for a relatively-unknown rapper who was brand new to the mainstream charts.
September 16, 2017: Cardi Hits No. 2
Cardi's hot single creeped up to nab the coveted No. 2 spot. The rapper took to social media to express her gratitude, exclaiming: "Thank you so much for making ‘Bodak Yellow’ No. 2 on the [Billboard chart]. I can’t believe this s-- and, just to know that I might make it to No. 1, it’s just like, I don’t know, like, it’s a crazy feeling.”
September 17-24, 2017: "Bodak Yellow" Co-Signs Flood In
Cardi has some serious star power hyping up her single and her status as a respected rapper. While on tour, Janet Jackson incorporated the banger into a choreographed dance routine and Cardi was beyond impressed. She posted a video of the icon dancing to her hit captioned, "The type of shit you can only dream of. Have to thank the Queen Janet Jackson for showing BODAKYELLOW LOVE !!"
The type of shit you can only dream of.Have to thank the Queen Janet Jackson for showing BODAKYELLOW LOVE !! pic.twitter.com/MTfer2dEjL— iamcardib (@iamcardib) September 17, 2017
RiRi, the new queen of Fenty beauty also posted a clip of the song to her Instagram, featuring a young toddler bopping hard and mouthing the words to Cardi's "Bodak Yellow." Captioned "me af," we can only guess that the "Wild Thoughts" superstar throws down to the smash-hit single.
Rap icon J. Cole also took to social media to shout out "Bodak." Tweeting to his nine million followers, "Also Cardi b I seen your breakfast club interview, loved it. Don't put all that pressure on your album. You already won. Just drop & repeat," he voiced his support for Cardi's come-up and the Bronx rapper was understandably overwhelmed. She responded with, "Is this real :')Son my heart is smiling :) Well who am I not to take J cole advice"
Is this real :')Son my heart is smiling 😌Well who am I not to take J cole advice https://t.co/fRVuNbyCtw— iamcardib (@iamcardib) September 24, 2017
This well-publicized support no doubt contributed to the single's recent climb to the top.
September 25, 2017: No. 1
"Bodak Yellow" rise to the No.1 spot was equally prompted by Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift fan-armies uniting for a common goal-- keep Cardi B from dethroning Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do," and keep the No.1 slot for a female rap solo track to be claimed by Minaj, and Minaj alone. However, all the refreshing and re-streaming in the world couldn't keep Cardi off of her current winning streak and the NYT-dubbed "rap anthem of the summer" claimed the No.1 top spot once and for all.
"Bodak Yellow" is the biggest song in America. It's also the first song to claim #1 by a -solo- female rapper since Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" in 1998.