Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” has reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, marking the New York rapper’s first chart-topping single and the first time a solo female rapper has reached the top spot in 19 years.
The track rose from number two on the chart – which is based on physical and digital sales as well as radio play and online streaming – three weeks after it was certified gold (500,00 units sold) by the RIAA, knocking Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” down from the top spot. The accolade has drawn praise for Cardi from the likes of Missy Elliott and Nicki Minaj.
The last time a female rapper held the top spot without any featured artists was 1998, when Lauryn Hill climbed to the top with “Doo Woop (That Thing)”. Only three other female rappers who have headed the list full stop, and all with features: Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and P!nk on “Lady Marmalade”; Shawnna on Ludacris’s 2003 single “Stand Up”; and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” with Charli XCX.
The track’s following, like much of the Bronx rapper’s cultural presence, originated online, with 173 million YouTube hits at the time of writing and a further 88 million on Spotify. The Love & Hip Hop: New York reality star, born Belcalis Almanzar, signed her record deal with Atlantic Records in February of this year, and last month she performed at the MoMA’s PS1 warm-up series.
In her interview with Dazed last year, Cardi said that, “At the end of the day, before I was an artist I was a human being who paid attention to society.” Now, society is paying her some serious attention back.