There’s no doubt about it, Cardi B is living her best life! The musician — whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar — was first introduced to fans in 2015 after joining the cast of the VH1 show Love & Hip Hop: New York during season 6. The reality series followed the lives of several female hip hop industry hopefuls and their paths to making it in the entertainment industry. Following her stint on the show, Cardi took her rap career to a new level and has since become a household name.
Despite having dropped her first-ever mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1, in 2016, Cardi didn’t blow up until her single “Bodak Yellow” was released in 2017. After hitting the airwaves, Billboard reported that the New York native made history with the uber-catchy song. In September 2017, she became the first female rapper in nearly 19 years to have a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart without the help of another musician.
Following her whirlwind rise to fame, Cardi opened up about how her life changed so quickly during a December 2018 interview with the CR Fashion Book. “One positive thing is that, my family, whatever they want, they get,” she said at the time. “Everything that I want to buy, I can get. I don’t have to worry so much about my future. One negative thing is that, even though I’m happy, I feel like I was a little bit happier two or three years ago when I had less money. I had less people who had opinions about my life. I felt like my life was mine. Now I feel like I don’t even own my life. I feel like the world owns me.”
Ultimately, Cardi has found her footing in both her professional and personal life. She released a chart-topping album titled Invasion of Privacy in April 2018, which featured collaborations from powerhouse artists like SZA, Migos, 21 Savage, Kehlani, Bad Bunny and more. Not only has she made music with A-listers, but she starred in the 2019 feature film Hustlers alongside Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Cardi made a social media anthem alongside Megan Thee Stallion with the August 2020 hit, “WAP,” which has its own dance on TikTok. It’s safe to say, she’s killing it.
Aside from her career, the “I Like It” rapper is also a devoted mom to daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus with her husband, Migos member Offset. “I want my daughter to feel like she’s that woman,” Cardi told W Magazine in November 2018 about teaching confidence to her baby girl. “I’m not going to say ‘that bitch’ — but I want her to feel like that person.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see Cardi’s amazing transformation, from Love & Hip Hop to now.