Is there a bigger breakout sensation in 2018 than the rapper, Cardi B? Not likely. She wowed the world with her first single of the summer and has kept us in stitches with her hilarious red carpet antics.
She keeps it extremely real and her social media is always good for a laugh. Speaking about her meteoric rise to fame, the rapper had this to say: “You guys want to know some real [stuff] that I have learned? I’ve been hanging around a lot of people that’s wealthy, that is rich, that is famous… One thing I learned is that no matter how much money you have, no matter how big you are, how famous you are—they will still end up stealing your charger and your lighter.”
But who is the real Cardi B? What do we really know about her? Her rise to fame was so fast, so quick that a lot of the world hasn’t had a real chance to get to know the rapper.
I’ve rounded up 15 of the best little-known facts about the rapper now that she is on the cusp of becoming a first-time mom.
15 Cardi B Isn’t Her Real Name
We know her and we love her by the name Cardi B.
But would you be surprised if I told you that Cardi B isn’t the name that the rapper was given by her parents? Probably not that surprising, especially since lots of celebrities change their names when they become famous.
But it might be a bit more surprising to learn that her real name is Belcalis Almanzar.
It may not be a name you’ve ever heard before, as it is very unique. The names Cardi’s parents chose for her speak directly to her heritage. Her mother is of Trinidadian descent and her father is of Dominican descent. Her first and last names are Spanish translations of Arabic words.
Her surname comes from the Arabic “al mandhar” and means “lookout point” or “watchtower”. Belcalis, her first name, is thought to be a reference to the Queen of Sheba and more generally “queen; pure one”. Interestingly enough, Nameberry doesn’t list Belcalis as a searchable name in their database. Cardi, on the other hand, is a new entry in their database thanks to, you guessed it, the one and only Cardi B. She's already having an impact for years to come, in the form of a generation of girls named "Cardi."
14 Cardi B Is Engaged To Rapper Offset
Cardi B and rapper Offset don’t do anything small. The couple got engaged when Migos rapper Offset got done on one knee in front of a huge crowd of people at the Power 99’s Powerhouse concert in Philadelphia.
He proposed to Cardi with an astonishing 8-carat diamond ring. After the engagement, Cardi couldn’t keep her excitement to herself. She posted happy couple pics and ring close-ups across all her social media.
“OK guys I know I keep posting about this day but I just can’t believe it. I keep replaying it in my head,” she wrote on Instagram. “I keep smiling every minute. I should have known something was up since this [guy] keep telling me to go get my nails done 😂Like since when you cared about my nails 🤔😩I love you and I love how you managed to get my mom to come out and witness my engagement. I’m the happiest girl in the world ❤️❤️ @offsetyrn you a true King.”
It’s no surprise the couple got engaged. Just two months before Offset popped the question, Cardi made it known in an interview that she was ready for the next step in her relationship. "Every woman, I think, wants to get married and wants to have children."
13 The Couple Are Expecting Their First Child
There was speculation for months as to whether or not Cardi B and Offset were expecting a child. Cardi was very vocal about shutting down the rumours. Only two months before officially announcing her pregnancy, the rapper clapped back at people asking if she was pregnant in the funniest way possible. “No… I’m just getting fat. Let me fat in peace,” she responded to gossip mongers on Instagram.
Wearing a stunning, form-fitting dress, the rapper announced her pregnancy on SNL on April 7th, 2018. Since then, we’ve found out that Cardi and Offset are expecting a girl and that she is due in July 2018.
That means, while it might have been the worst kept secret in Hollywood, the couple kept their news to themselves until Cardi was already 6 months pregnant. At the MET gala, Cardi gave us another insight into her growing baby girl. “She do weigh three and a half pounds. That’s pretty good for seven months, right? Because I was born five pounds.”
Why you might ask? Because she didn’t want to deal with people’s judgement. "This is why I did not wanted to say nothing," she said on an Instagram story. "People be so thirsty to scrutinize and try to destroy something that it suppose to be a blessing."
12 Her Sister Has An Unusual Name Too
While Cardi’s parents went with a very culturally significant name for her, they went a slightly different route for her sister.
Cardi B’s younger sister is named Hennessy Carolina. And yes she is named after the French cognac.
Neither name can really be called traditional, but they both come with pretty amazing backstories. So how did Hennessy Carolina end up with her name? Did her parents troll the internet until they found just the right name? Did they search through endless baby name books? Did they painstakingly make lists of the pros and cons of the best baby girl names? Well, they might have, but in the end, they decided on her name in a very non-traditional way.
The story goes that their father showed up to the hospital drunk on Hennessy when she was born. He then insisted on naming his second daughter after his drink of choice. Not exactly the normal route that most parents take, but it’s a really great story.
Hennessy is Cardi B’s biggest fan and most resolute defender. She went to the 2018 Grammys with Cardi B and is always there to stand up for her sister on social media when people come for her.
11 Why Do We Call Her Cardi B?
So how did she get her nickname Cardi B from Belcalis Almanzar? It actually has a lot to do with her sister, Hennessy.
Her parents bestowed upon her the nickname Bacardi, after the rum, which fits perfectly with her sister’s liquor-based name. She then shortened it to Cardi and she says the B stands for whatever she’s feeling that day. From Belcalis to Bacardi, the B is whatever she wants it to be that day.
“You know what, my sister name is Hennessy, so everybody used to call me Bacardi,” Cardi B explained in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.
“Then it was my Instagram name, Bacardi, Bacardi B, but for some reason, my Instagram kept getting deleted, and you know what I think it was Bacardi [the alcohol company] that had something to do with it. So I just changed it to Cardi B.”
"The 'B' stands for whatever, depending on the day…beautiful or bully," she continued. "No one calls me Belcalis except for my family, my mother, and my daddy."
10 She Started From The Bottom, Now She's Here
As Drake once rapped, “Started from the bottom now we're here.” And for Cardi B, nothing could be truer. While Cardi has always spoken positively about her parents, she doesn’t have as many positive things to say about the society that shaped her.
“I have real good parents, they poor. They have regular, poor jobs and what not,” the rapper shared in an interview with Global Grind. “They real good people and what not, I was just raised in a bad society.”
"I was poor," she said. "I was living with my ex-boyfriend that was [bad to me], I had to drop out of school. I was like living with his mama [and] two pit bulls in one bedroom. It was cray."
It was then that Cardi became an exotic dancer to support herself. For Cardi, this isn’t something she’s ashamed of. Instead, she is using her fame and notoriety to help other dancers achieve the respect they deserve.
"People say, ‘Why do you always got to say that you used to be a [dancer]? We get it.’ Because y’all don’t respect me because of it, and y’all going to respect these [dancers] from now on," she said in an interview with Cosmopolitan.
She worked as a dancer from age 18 to 23, and quit when her social media started to blow up.
9 Instagram Was Cardi’s Claim To Fame
Before she set the music world on fire with her debut release Bodak Yellow, Cardi B was burning up your social media feed. In 2015, Instagram welcomed Cardi with open arms. The internet couldn’t help but love her straight-talking, sometimes controversial, but always hilarious Instagram videos.
“I already had a million and something followers on Instagram,” she told Ellen about her pre-rapping days. “What helped me was my personality. My personality took me places. Who would have known,” she laughed.
She was also just in time to hop on the Vine train, where she also gained a huge following. Cardi became the centre of hundred of funny memes, hilarious gifs and laugh-out-loud tweets. Her sense of humor has resonated with and charmed millions who couldn't wait to hear her music.
You may not even have realized it, but you’ve probably seen at least one of Cardi’s extremely popular viral videos. If Cardi isn’t teaching us all how to budget—”Shoes: $1,200. Glasses: $400. But my outfit? $20.”—she’s showing the world that staying warm in the winter doesn’t necessarily need a lot of clothes. She never ceases to make us smile—even if her posts are sometimes a little less PG13 and a little more adult.
8 She’s A Former Reality Television Star
If you’re a fan of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: New York, then you already know that Cardi B starred on the reality show for two seasons.
The show follows the lives of women in hip-hop and how they deal in such a male-dominated industry. It chronicles their relationship struggles, their career highs and lows and the intense rivalries that arise between these women.
Cardi B joined the cast in its sixth season as an “Instagram personality”. She stayed on for season seven but left before the eighth season when her music career started to take off.
“I don’t want people to think I became a rapper because I was on Love & Hip Hop,” she said in an Instagram live video. “There are a couple of songs that are on [my mixtape] that I been did before Love & 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."
7 “Bodak Yellow” Made History
It has been nearly 19 years since a female rapper took the number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Not since Lauryn Hill’s 1998 hit “Doo Wop” has a female rapper achieved this honour.
While “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” had a slow and steady rise to the top of the charts, it finally moved from number 2 to number 1 in late September. "I wanted to do a song that is, like, 'You know what? I'm in a good place in my life right now and I want to stun,'" she explained to Billboard. "I felt it in my soul—this song is going to be so popping," she said. "While I was recording it, every [jerk] I don't like came into my head."
When she heard the news, Cardi B was slightly shocked. "It was a lovely surprise," Cardi told Billboard. "It was kinda like a close race. It was like when Obama was running for president. I'm like, 'Ahhhhh!'"
Cardi’s song knocked Taylor Swift’s "Look What You Made Me Do" from the top spot, which had been holding strong at the number 1 spot for three weeks.“Thank you everybody. I am very happy. I am very honoured,” Cardi B said at her celebration party.
6 Cardi B Is Making Waves On The Award Scene
Not only did “Bodak Yellow” make its way to #1 on the Billboard chart—and stay there for three consecutive weeks—it also made Cardi B prime for awards season.
“Bodak Yellow” and Cardi B herself have already been nominated for twenty-three different awards.
She has also won ten different awards including iHeart Radio Music Awards’ “Best New Hip-Hop Artist”, BET Hip Hop Awards’ “Single of the Year” and “Best New Hip-Hop Artist”, and Soul Train Music Awards’ “Rhythm & Bars Award”.
Most exciting of all, “Bodak Yellow” was nominated for two Grammys. “Best Rap Performance” and “Best Rap Song”. Cardi B was the only female to be nominated in both categories in 2018. While Cardi lost to Kendrick Lamar and his single “HUMBLE.”, she was happy about the nominations and spoke to Billboard Magazine about the feeling of validation they Grammy noms gave her.
“It’s just like, how do people with no credentials gonna make me feel like I don’t deserve my success?” she said. “And it’s like, there’s people from the Grammys, these are people that pick and choose who deserves it or not, and they feel like I deserve it, so it’s like… what’s popping? Who gonna say something?”
5 She Considers Herself A Strong Feminist
Even if you don’t love Cardi B’s music, you have to respect her strong stance when it comes to being a feminist.
She first spoke about it in 2016 to Latina Magazine, saying, "If you don't support all women, then you're not a real feminist. If in order to consider someone a feminist, they have to had gone to college, got degrees, own companies, then that's not real. Why can't someone who came from the bottom, who has a dark past, not achieve? I used to be a dancer and did what I did. I don't have a perfect vocabulary. But I do influence people."
She elaborated in a 2018 interview with i-D Magazine. “Being a feminist is such a great thing and some people feel like someone like me can’t be as great as that," the rapper said. "But then some people are smart but they don’t have no common sense. They think feminism is great and only a woman that can speak properly, that has a degree, who is a boss, a businessperson… they think only Michelle Obama can be a feminist."
"But being a feminist is real simple; it’s that a woman can do things the same as a man. I’m equal to a [man]. Anything a man can do, I can do. I can finesse, I can hustle. We have the same freedom. I was top of the charts. I’m a woman and I did that. I do feel equal to a man.”
Can I get an amen?
4 A Perfect Day For Cardi B Is Super Low Key
When we normally see Cardi B, whether it’s on stage, on her Instagram or a red carpet, she is done up to the nines. Full hair, full makeup, sky-high heels and a killer outfit that has made her one of the best-dressed celebrities on the scene. But when it comes to her days off, it’s a whole other story.
She doesn’t often get time off now that her career has skyrocketed but when she finally gets to spend some time relaxing she knows how to do it right.
Meaning, she likes to do absolutely nothing at all—hair undone, no makeup on, chilling in something comfortable.
"I don’t want nobody to invite me nowhere. I don’t want to do my makeup. I don’t want to put tight clothes on. I don’t want to wear heels. I don’t want to do [anything]," she said in an interview with Zendaya for CR Fashion Book. "I’m also kind of a loner. I like to be in silence, think, and make myself laugh." She certainly makes the rest of us laugh too with her fantastic sense of humor.
It's refreshing to know that she enjoys her free time just like any of us. And we appreciate all the work she does to put on her public persona.
3 She Speaks Openly And Honestly About Her Cosmetic Surgery
While a lot of celebrities feel the need to hide the fact that they have had cosmetic enhancements, Cardi B embraces the changes she’s made to her figure.
She does say that her desire to enhance her butt came from working as a dancer. She started to feel self-conscious about her own body when comparing herself to the other dancers.
"In order to get lipo, where they put the fat transfer in your [behind] and it gets bigger, you need to have fat. I did not have no type of fat," she said. "But I was desperate to have a bigger [behind]."
So she went to a woman in Queens, NY who had a reputation for doing good work, albeit illegal. The woman injected fillers into Cardi B and her experience was less than ideal.
“They don’t numb [you] with anything,” Cardi recalled. “It was the craziest pain ever. I felt like I was gonna pass out. I felt a little dizzy. And it leaks for, like, five days.” By the time she went back for another round of shots, the woman had been sent to jail after a woman suffered from receiving injections from her.
Her experience wasn’t the best, but she hasn’t turned her back on cosmetic surgery—Cardi has said in the past that she plans to get liposuction after having kids.
2 From Drake To Oprah, Everyone Loves Cardi B
Cardi B’s popularity isn’t reserved for us mere mortals. It turns out celebrities everywhere are digging the rapper and becoming huge fans.
Popstar Demi Lovato tweeted about Cardi’s album, saying “Cardi B’s new album is [fire] She makes you wanna root for her.. love her.”
Diddy also shared his heartfelt congratulations for the rapper on Instagram, with a video of himself dancing to Cardi’s album. “I’m proud of you, I’ve watched you evolve into the artist you are today. Keep pushing the culture forward, continue to be authentic and true to yourself!!! Everyone go get her new album right now #InvasionOfPrivacy LOVE!”
I can’t say for sure what happened when Cardi B saw Oprah’s Instagram post. But if I was Cardi and saw that Oprah had posted about listening to my album, I am sure I would have been hysterically excited. Screaming, shouting, complete and utter disbelief.
The best part about Cardi’s growing fan club is that she is the most gracious of celebrities. She retweets and regrams all of the mentions from her favourite celebrities. It’s great that she re-shares the love, and we can’t wait to see who will be the next to join her celebrity fan club.
1 She Believes You Can Have It All—A Family And A Career
Every mom knows the struggle between balancing a career and family. It’s one of the biggest issues that most moms face. But the idea that you can have it all is something that women around the world have been striving for. And Cardi B is here for it.
When speaking with New York’s Hot 97, the rapper opened up about her pregnancy and her desire to keep working while being the best mom she can be. “I really hated how people harassed me and didn’t let me breathe. I have given y’all so much.”
And for Cardi, it’s true. People have had the audacity to question why she chose to get pregnant now just when her rap career is hitting its stride. “Why can’t I have both? Why do I have to be in my mid-30’s to have a baby? What am I doing wrong? I’m a grown woman. ... I’m 25 years old, and I’m going to say this in the most humblest way, I’m a millionaire. I’m established.”
Humble or not, she isn’t wrong. There are many of us moms out there that wish we could have been millionaires when we started our families, but no one questioned our choices.
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