It’s official: the era of Cardi B has arrived. After a long journey – from stripping to Love & Hip-Hop to the VMA stage – Billboard just announced that beloved Bronx rapper Cardi B has finally reached no. 1 on the Hot 100. The Dominican-Trinidadian artist, who became famous for her acerbic wit and sly sense of humor on social media over the past couple of years, has been battling Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” for the top chart position over the past five weeks, when Swift first released the lead single of her upcoming album Reputation.
As Billboard reports, Cardi is the first solo female rap rapper to reach no. 1 on the Hot 100 since 1998, when Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” dominated the charts. Cardi, born Belcalis Almanzar, is also the first person of Dominican descent to reach no.1 in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, since it was launched in 1958.
For those of us who have followed Cardi since her journey started in the Bronx, the achievement is momentous, as her story represents the promise of success for so many Bronx Dominicans. As renewed interest in Latino music and artists dominate the mainstream conversation, Cardi’s ascent proves that Latino artists can still make it to the top of the charts on their own terms, with no features required. Only time will tell how this win changes the game for other Latino artists, and how Cardi continues to defy categorization.
Expect “Bodak Yellow” light up Uptown clubs and Bronx blocks for the rest of the year.
Update, 9/25/2017 1:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this piece claimed that Cardi B was the first woman of Dominican descent to reach no. 1. Triple Seis, a former member of Terror Squad, was believed to be the first male artist of Dominican descent to reach no. 1 with the group’s hit “Lean Back” in August 2004. Triple Seis left the group in 2000 after Big Pun’s death, making Cardi the first Dominican artist of any gender to reach the top of the charts.