The song title is a play on Florida rapper Kodak Black's name; Cardi's flow on the track is based on his 2014 hit "No Flockin." Cardi B has form for interpolating another flow in her music. In 2016, she adopted Plies's "Ran Off on da Plug Twice" flow on her breakout hit "Foreva."
Cardi B explained the song title to MTV News: "I call it 'Bodak Yellow' because Bodak, my name start with a B and yellow because I'm a yellow bitch." The title never appears in the lyrics.
Cardi B was born Belcalis Almanzar in The Bronx borough of New York City. She first earned money as an exotic dancer, before becoming an internet celebrity. The rapper references her past as a stripper in this song and how she now makes the money move towards her.
Look, I don't dance now
I make money moves
Say I don't gotta dance
I make money move
The song originated when Cardi B heard J. White Did It's beat for this track. She immediately thought of the track's opening line and as she wasn't near a recording studio, she rapped the lyrics into her phone.
Cardi came up with the belligerent lyrics after studying other female rappers. She told Rolling Stone: "They talking about they money, they talking about they cars, so it's like, what's something that I enjoy? I enjoy fights!"
"Bodak" jumped from #14 to #8 in its sixth week on the Hot 100. The climb made the song the first top 10 hit by an unaccompanied female rapper (no other artists on the billing) since Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda
" reached #2 three years previously in 2014.
Cardi B recorded a "Latin Trap Remix" featuring Dominican rapper Messiah, on which she mixes English and Spanish. The Bronx MC first performed the new version during her set at Manhattan's Dominican Day Parade on August 13, 2017.
Cardi B told Billboard magazine what was going through her head while recording the cut. "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.
"I felt it in my soul - this song is going to be so popping," Cardi B added. "While I was recording it, every bitch I don't like came into my head."
Kodak Black admitted that the song made him a Cardi B fan. "At first, I ain't gon' lie, I didn't really like Cardi B," he said. "But then I heard that 'Bodak Yellow.' I like the song."
Kodak liked Cardi's breakout hit so much that he jumped on a remix.
The song climbed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated October 7, 2017. In doing so, Cardi B became the first female rap act to hit the top spot with no guest features since Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)
" back in 1998. Other female rappers have been there but alongside featured artists as was the case with Iggy Azalea's "Fancy
," featuring Charli XCX, in 2014.
Cardi was also the first solo female artist to top the Hot 100 with a debut track unaccompanied by another artist since Meghan Trainor did so with "All About That Bass
" back in 2014.
J White Did It's beat came together in just a quarter of an hour. "My manager came in and he was like, 'Yo, I really like those snare hi-hats you do.' So I added them and after that, we were like, 'Oh my God, this is the record,'" he recalled to DJBooth
. "Cardi loved the track and it was magic from there."
This was Pitchfork
's Top Song of 2017. They said:
"'Bodak Yellow' is not just the banger of the year; it's an unignorable antithesis to a political landscape built around xenophobia, racism, and sexism. The first solo female rap track to hit No. 1 in nearly 20 years, it emboldened many of the people - especially women of color - who were marginalized for the very things that anchor the Afro-Latina star's impenetrable pride."
This song played in an Amazon commercial starring Cardi B
that aired during the Super Bowl in 2018. In the spot, the personal assistant Alexa loses her voice and is replaced by inferior substitutes, including Cardi, who keeps playing "Bodak Yellow" when a guy asks for country music.
The song's music video was directed by Picture Perfect and shot in Dubai. It features scenes of Cardi B riding camels through the desert wearing traditional garb.
"I just felt like if we're going to be in Dubai then she's got to kind of relate to the culture," the director told Genius
. "The women that got her these outfits, they're actually from Dubai. She's all wrapped up. She's barely showing any skin. She didn't want to sell her body with her music so I felt like definitely in this one we should try something different."
The video portrays Cardi as a queen, complete with a throne and a cheetah at her side. However, that was not the original idea. "This cheetah scene was really supposed to be Cardi in an exotic car," Picture told Genius. "That's the vibe in Dubai. They ride around with these cats in the passenger seat. We could never get that shot off. We didn't find the guy crazy enough to let us put a cheetah in his passenger seat and I don't think Cardi would've trusted that."
The meaning behind the Invasion of Privacy album title is linked to the pressure Cardi B felt regarding her fame and people's meddling. Speaking with Sway Calloway on the radio show Sway in the Morning, she explained: "When I was doing my album these past couple of months, my privacy has been invaded the most. I feel like I give people a lot and people still want more. When it comes to my pregnancy, I had people harassing me, stalking me. If it's not something about me, it's something about my man."
J White Did It told Billboard
the story of the beat:
"I was at our manager's house, and I was just vibing and I was making some R&B tracks. My manager is like, 'why you making R&B tracks? Cardi said she want some turn up tracks.' Cardi was in the other room on the phone, I didn't think she was paying attention. I'm just vibing. I'm like, 'Cardi ain't say that.' She comes in the room and says [imitating Cardi's voice], 'I did say that! I want some turn-up tracks!' She wasn't there when I finished it, but she was there when I started it. She was liking it, sat down and started bobbing her head.
After I heard what she put on it, man, 'oh my God.' I remember they Facetimed me when they were in the studio. I just heard the pain and the hunger in her voice on this track. I was like, this might be a record that gives us an opportunity to get another record out. That was my only vision: I wasn't trying to make no record to go number one or change the game, I was only trying to make a record that would get us another record."
J. White Did It's beat features an important element that he created accidentally. "There's an 808 on the track that hits on the 2 instead of the 1," he recalled to Genius
. "I just didn't nudge it over far enough when I played it. I said 'Oh, that sounds different. You know what, I'ma keep it there."
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that "Bodak Yellow" passed the 10 million units threshold in the US on March 8, 2021. This made Cardi B the first female rapper to earn a Diamond single award.