VH1's Love & Hip-Hop: New York has had its share of colorful characters - but none like the one who debuted on the show's fifth season in 2015. Bronx bombshell Cardi B, born Belcalis Almánzar, immediately turned heads with her distinctive voice and refreshingly honest personality - one that no amount of success has compromised.
Since then, Cardi's gone nowhere but up, setting and breaking chart records for female rappers, releasing her debut Invasion of Privacy to great acclaim in 2018, and working hard on a follow-up in the not-too-distant future. She's also answered Hollywood's call: in 2019 she made her film debut as a stripper in the comedy-drama Hustlers - hardly a stretch as a former exotic dancer herself - and in the summer of 2021 she can be seen as an ally to Vin Diesel's iconic racer in F9, the newest installment of the Fast & Furious film series.
In honor of her still-rising star, here's five of her most-streamed hits from her short but powerful career, from smallest to biggest. Can you guess her most popular tracks?
Ed Sheeran feat. Camila Cabello & Cardi B, "South of the Border" (2019): British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran recruited ex-Fifth Harmony vocalist Camila Cabello for a little Latin flavor on "South of the Border," a U.K. Top 5 from the guest star-rich No. 6 Collaborations Project. Cardi held up the end of the track with a helping of fun bars and signature trills. "Drop a baby / drop an album / but I never drop the ball" is one of the better - and in her case, truer! - lines to go out on.
Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B, "Finesse (Remix)" (2017): On third album 24K Magic, soul-pop hitmaker Bruno Mars took things to a new level with "Finesse," a single that sounded like a lost Bell Biv DeVoe track from the '90s. To seal the deal and keep his airtight rep as a man who can throw back and look forward, the remix enlisted Bronx sensation Cardi B to deliver some rapid-fire verses over the song's bridge.
"Bodak Yellow" (2017): Listening to the "Bodak Yellow" beat on a plane, Cardi told Rolling Stone, she immediately thought of "every bitch that I don't like came to my head. And I pictured me, slapping it to them." She wrote the lyrics before the plane touched ground - and the result was an undisputed song of the summer, knocking Taylor Swift from the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
"WAP" (feat. Megan Thee Stallion) (2020): If her entire career thus far is any hint, Cardi B and summer go together like a bucket and a mop. In the summer of 2020, Cardi shocked the world - and got a fourth chart-topper - with this crowd-pleasing, bass-heavy duet with fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion. (And no, we're not saying what it stands for here.)
"I Like It" (feat. Bad Bunny & J. Balvin) (2018): backed by a party-starting sample of Pete Rodriguez's '60s boogaloo classic "I Like It Like That," Cardi scored another summer hit, another No. 1 single (the first female rapper to have two) and more than a billion streams worldwide, all thanks to this collab featuring Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny and reggaeton titan J Balvin. "Making this song was like making music with my family," Bunny told Billboard. "Latinos are very united, and music runs in our blood so when it came time to do this track it was all about keeping it fun and energetic." Boy, did they ever.