A branding power rooted in specific authenticity, created and permeated by rapper Cardi B. Behaviors associated with the Cardi B Effect include blunt honesty, rapping, laughing, mild to moderate twerking, tongue-curling, teeth-kissing, chart-topping and regular degular Bronx girl antics. A hometown crowd of around 4,, from all ages and ethnic backgrounds, acted as a barometer of her ascendant stardom — the "Cardi B effect" was spreading.
Decked out in a red lace dress and a blunt black bob, Cardi was greeted with flashes, cheers and phones recording her every move. When she finally performed her fast-rising single, the crowd erupted in unison: Like the liquor in the cups of the concertgoers and the weed smoke around them, the Cardi B effect was not only perceptible, it was intoxicating — even for members of Cardi's own team.
At that point, the cool kids at Warm-Up weren't considered her core demographic a performance at New York's Dominican Day Parade the following day likely didn't come with the same initial wariness. And yet, the immediate embrace of the artistic bleeding-edge of New York meant that Cardi's crossover was underway.
Over one pivotal weekend, she proved to herself and her haters that, riding the wave of "Bodak Yellow," she could rule every enclave in her city, from the Uptown bodegas to the bougie outer-borough art scene and everywhere in between.
It was as evident that day in August as it is now, a day before the release of her major label debut, that Cardi's kitschy, endearingly ratchet authenticity — that last word echoed by every source NPR Music spoke to — has not only allowed her to saturate the pop world, but is the reason for that saturation.
Cardi was a natural at self-promotion long before her transition into the rap world. New York , which premiered on Dec. Cardi spent two seasons promoting herself as the "regular degular shmegular girl from The Bronx," all the while recording music, growing her followers and planning her next move. A press release for season seven: Hubert, a senior vice president of urban marketing at Atlantic Records. Though Atlantic initially kept her signing quiet common practice in the industry — reports circulated of the deal in February and Cardi spoke openly about the signing during her summer cover story interview with The Fader , the label was adamant about keeping Cardi's brand — her personality — intact.
Hubert says there was "never a censor, never a muzzle, never a 'You should take that post down' conversation surrounding Cardi. Early on, Cardi's focus on her music career slowed those sponsorship talks. So for us, our goal throughout this whole process is to get Cardi in music conversations. Hubert remembers the initial uphill battle to get Cardi recognition in the rap space.
GBMV2 peaked at No. In late April, Cardi recorded what would become her golden ticket. On "Bodak Yellow Money Moves ," Cardi mimics the flow of Florida rapper Kodak Black , spitting about everything from retiring from stripping, Louboutins, paying her mom's bills and having an unmatched work ethic in the game.
Jermaine White, aka J White Did It, who produced the track, recalled Cardi's laser focus in the studio to Complex in August, , saying their "chemistry at first was a love-hate one because I was such a general at first, and then she became the general. Upon its release, "Bodak" broke into the Hot at No. For the July 4 holiday, St. Hubert set out to work the track through the holiday break, calling on the label's radio promotions team to push the song into heavy rotation.
By the time she arrived back to work Wednesday, July 5, St. Hubert says the song was averaging nearly three million streams a week across all streaming services. The venomous wit Cardi uses to craft her lovable and savage Instagram rants is the same ingredient that makes "Bodak Yellow" sting so sweetly.
An anthem by all accounts, the track unifies and speaks to many different groups without compromising its own grimy, gritty truth. Janet Jackson worked the song into her tour routine on Sept. Cardi's track would stay at the top spot for three consecutive weeks, making it longest-running No. As the wider world began to discover, and relish, Cardi's underdog story, the ride-hailing company Lyft became one of the first big names to collaborate with the rapper, adding her face and signature nails to the skin of its app.
Lyft partnered with Cardi B to celebrate her No. Lyft hide caption toggle caption Lyft The Cardi B effect was airborne. In December, shoe designer Steve Madden announced a shoe collaboration. Cardi B was far from that," says Madden of working with the rapper. Cautionary tales of artists scoring an early-career hit and then fading out or falling off are littered all throughout hip-hop history: Even with her larger audience — 20 million Instagram followers and counting — Cardi's social posts remain just as shameless , her colloquialisms are quickly adopted Oww, okurr!
The Swarovski crystal nail art she used to promote on Instagram has stayed just as inconveniently opulent — and through her mounting fame, Cardi has kept the same nail technician for five years, Jenny Bui , who says that Cardi is a trendsetting customer. Long after its disappearance from the charts, cultural markers continue to quantify "Bodak" as more than just a flash in the pan, and Cardi as more than just a rapper who lucked out.
Her lyrics were used as protest signage during the January Women's March. While other women in music have kept their respective time in the sex industry shadowed due to lack of relevance in their music, Cardi uses hers as a point of personal motivation and has been vocal about her advocacy for those still in the industry.
Just because somebody was a stripper don't mean they don't have no brain," the rapper explained in Cosmopolitan.
Cardi B's debut album Invasion of Privacy is due out April 6. Atlantic Records hide caption toggle caption Atlantic Records "I think that's gonna be what gives her more staying power than an Iggy Azalea or an Ashanti, is that yes, people are loving her music right now — but I think like she definitely is a TV personality.
I would watch if she hosted a talk show. It turns out that was a prescient statement: Cardi is set to co-host The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on next Monday, April 9 — a first for the late night program in Fallon's time as host — on the heels of her debut album's release, after an appearance on Saturday Night Live two nights before.