It might have seemed that Cardi B blew up overnight when “Bodak Yellow” hit, but the truth is, the South Bronx rapper has been grinding for a while before she struck gold.
After getting her start in the entertainment world in 2015 when she joined the cast of the VH1 reality television series Love & Hip Hop: New York, Cardi rose to fame with her on-screen personality, as well as her viral videos on social media.
She made her recording debut on the remix to Shaggy’s “Boom Boom”, alongside fellow Jamaican dancehall singer Popcaan at the end of 2015, and then dropped her debut mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1, a few months later. Cardi continued to work on her music as she appear in multiple TV shows, including Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne, Kocktails with Khloé and Being Mary Jane.
In 2017, after dropping her second mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 2, Cardi announced that she had signed a major record label deal with Atlantic Records. And then “Bodak Yellow” dropped on June 16, 2017.
In a Rolling Stone article about how she wrote the song, Cardi revealed that she was inspired by “every bitch that I don’t like came to my head, and I pictured me, slapping it to them.”
The single was produced by J. White Did It and Laquan Green and featured additional writing credits from Pardison Fontaine and Klenord Raphael. Rapper Kodak Black also received songwriting credits on the song since Cardi interpolated the flow from his 2014 song “No Flockin”.
“Bodak Yellow” was an instant hit. The infectiously catchy single debuted at number 85 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and continued to climb the chart, before finally hitting number one on the week of September 23, 2017.
J. White Did It: I try to keep music in its rawest form. Cardi wanted energy, she crazy man. She wanted music that matched her. That’s one thing that we got down, my music and her energy match perfectly. I’ve been working with her for over a year and a half and we’ve made history together.Meet the Dallas Producer Behind Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” | Texas Monthly
With the incredible success of “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi joined Lauryn Hill as only the second female rapper to top the charts with a solo song. She also became the first female rapper to have a diamond-certified song when “Bodak Yellow” sold over 10 million units in 2021. To top it all off, Cardi has the most number-one singles for a female rapper with five to her name so far: “Bodak Yellow”, “I Like It”, “WAP”, “Up” and Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.”