Cardi B was born Belcalis Almanzar in The Bronx borough of New York City.
She was inspired to name herself after an alcohol brand like her sister, Hennessey. Speaking on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Belcalis Almanzar explained the origins of her Cardi B performing name.
"You know what, my sister name is Hennessy, so everybody used to call be Bacardi," the rapper told 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."
Cardi B first earned money as an exotic dancer, dancing at several Gentleman's Clubs in New York City.
Having become an Internet celebrity, Cardi B exited from the stripper scene in 2015, as she began earning a good income from club hosting gigs, modeling for fashion websites and other streams reserved for social media influencers.
Cardi B made her recording debut in November 2015 on Jamaican singer Shaggy's remix to his single "Boom Boom" alongside Popcaan. She released her first full-length project, a braggadocios mixtape titled Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1 four months later.
Cardi starred in 2015 and 2016 on the VH1 Reality show Love & Hip-Hop. The sixth and seventh seasons chronicled her turbulent relationship with her incarcerated fiancé Tommy Geez and she was considered to be Season 6's breakout star. In December 2016, Cardi announced her departure from the program in hopes of jump-starting her music career.
In November 2016, it was announced Cardi B was joining the cast of BET's TV's Being Mary Jane, playing the role of Mercedes, a beauty with a big booty and an oversized, ratchet personality. "My character is somewhat like me. She is a spoiled, rich, 'hood girl," she laughed to Latina. "I see myself in her because she is a little bossy."
Cardi B's debut commercial single, "Bodak Yellow
", was released on June 16, 2017. It quickly rose up the Hot 100, topping the chart dated September 25, 2017. This meant that Cardi B became the first solo female rapper to have a #1 single since Lauryn Hill did so with "Doo Wop (That Thing)
" in 1998.
Cardi B began publicly dating fellow rapper Offset in early 2017. The pair quickly became a well-known couple in the hip hop world and the the Bronx MC wasn't shy about expressing her love for the Migos spitter in her rhymes. She says, for instance, Offset's name a total of 16 times throughout her "Bartier Cardi
With a total of 13 tracks, Cardi B beat by one Beyoncé's record for most simultaneous Billboard US Hot 100 entries by a female, on the chart dated April 21, 2018. 12 of the 13 songs featured on the tally came from The Bronx rapper's Invasion of Privacy
album, which was released on April 6, 2018. The other song was "Finesse
," a collaboration with Bruno Mars.
Cardi B's record was broken by Billie Eilish, who landed 14 simultaneous songs on the Hot 100 dated April 13, 2019, the week after her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Cardi B revealed on her Twitter page in June 2018 that she and Offset had secretly been married for nine months. "One morning in September we woke up and decided to get married," the singer said. "We found someone to marry us… I said I do."
Cardi B added that the wedding ceremony place took place with no dress, make-up or ring, and her cousin acted as a witness.
Cardi B and Offset had a daughter, Kulture, together but the marriage didn't last. On December 5, 2018 Cardi announced on Instagram that she and Offset had broken up. The pair reunited in early 2019, but Cardi B filed documents on September 15, 2020 to end their marriage.
When her album Invasion of Privacy won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, she became the first female solo artist to take that trophy. The only other woman to win the award was Lauryn Hill as a member of the Fugees.
Cardi B is often too busy to prepare a proper meal so her go-to nourishment, when hungry, is a classic sandwich. "My favorite thing to cook is peanut butter and jelly because it's fast to make," she laughed to Vogue