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Track Review

Taylor Swift has been dethroned from her No. 1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100. The new queen of the pop chart? Rapper Cardi B, with her thumping, hypnotic song "Bodak Yellow."

Who's Cardi B, you ask? Well, let me tell you a bit about her.

Cardi starred on MTV's reality series Love & Hip Hop: New York. (She's also talked freely about her former work as an exotic dancer as well.) Since then, she's gone from C-list reality star to the top of the charts. Cardi (real name: Belcalis Almanzar) is a Bronx native known for her no-filter attitude and her ambition to make it big. And she's making good on that desire, too: Cardi is the first female rap artist to top the Hot 100 since Lauryn Hill did it way back in 1998 with "Doo Wop (That Thing)." (A feat not even Nicki Minaj has accomplished.)

Cardi told MTV that the inspiration for her smash single's title was simple: "My name start wit a B, you know what I'm sayin' and yellow because I'm a yellow b--ch." And with her rocket-like surge of success, she says she is "feeling really good …very emotional."

Do Not Mess With Cardi B

"Bodak Yellow" wastes no time before delivering Cardi's message to all of the women who have mistreated her in the past: "Said little b--ch, you can't f--- with me." It also informs her haters that she is not the same impoverished girl she once was: "These expensive, these is red bottoms/These is bloody shoes/Hit the store, I can get 'em both/I don't wanna choose."

Alluding to her days as a stripper, Cardi says that she doesn't have to dance for money anymore. "Say I don't gotta dance," she raps, "I make money move." Then comes another profanity-laden warning: "If I see you and I don't speak/That means I don't f--- with you/I'm a boss, you a worker b--ch."

She's not done yet, letting any pretenders to her throne know that she's the queen, that she's on top, and that she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her: "You know where I'm at/You know where I be/You in the club just to party/I'm there, I get paid a fee/ … Honestly, don't give a f---/ 'Bout who ain't fond of me."

For any woman who hasn't gotten the message yet, Cardi goes on to tell them that she may just steal their boyfriend (using extremely graphic sexual language to describe what she'll do to him next). Cardi says she is not the same person she used to be, and she isn't afraid to tell anyone who'll listen: "Had to let these b--ches know/Just in case these hoes forgot/I just run and check the mail/Another check from Mona Scott."

There's more, of course. But it's more of the same: more profanity. More anatomical crudity. More hyperbolic gratuity.

Look at Me Now

Cardi uses the video for "Bodak Yellow" to reinforce her queen-of-the-hill proclamations. And where better to do that, she said in an interview, than Dubai? After all, what says expensive better than that wealthy Middle Eastern country?

Dressed in provocative clothing in nearly every scene, Cardi goes from riding on a camel and sexualizing a niqab (a traditional Muslim covering for women), to wearing a tight leather body suit—among other exceptionally revealing outfits.

She also sports a cheetah on a leash. She dances with a flaming sword. She proudly displays the anarchist symbol on her chest. And she reclines against an exotic sports car wearing next to nothing.

Meanwhile, men and women (some of whom wear traditional Muslim garb) smoke hookahs in the background, while they "make it rain" with an abundance of cash. Alcohol flows freely as well.

The overall message? The same theme we've heard in so many rap songs and seen in so many videos over the last 30 years: Cardi's the self-styled queen of all she surveys. And everybody else should just bow to her royalty.

The Price of Success

Cardi B has clearly suffered judgement and criticism from her early years onward. In an interview with the Washington Post Cardi said of her life and struggles, "It's just, like, unbelievable. I've been through so many things and I worked so hard for me to be here, and it's like I'm finally here getting what I wanted, [and getting] the respect from other artists and from everybody."

But even as she perhaps earns respect from those who have doubted her, she may also lose the respect of those who find it hard to stomach her lyrics and her extreme persona.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

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Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Debuted at No. 1.

Record Label

Atlantic Records




June 16, 2017

On Video

Year Published



Kristin Smith

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