There’s no denying it – Belcalis Almanzar, better known as Cardi B, took an unusual route to fame. She began her career as a stripper, then turned her attention to becoming an Instagram queen with a huge following. Next, she jumped on Love & Hip Hop: New York, before finally being signed in February 2017 by Atlantic Records.
She’s certainly a go-getter, and now Cardi B’s on top of the world.
But it wasn’t always like that. She grew up in the South Bronx section of New York City, and became a member of the Bloods street gang. She tried to turn her life around by going to the Renaissance High School for Musical Theater & Technology and getting a job at an Amish Market supermarket, but things went downhill. She was in poverty and stuck in a tiny Bronx apartment in a violent and abusive relationship.
It was then that she turned to stripping, and says of her career choice, “It really saved me from a lot of things. When I started stripping I went back to school.” She got breast implants and buttock augmentation, and started going to college.
But it was music that really caught her attention, and in 2015 she started to gain traction, appearing on a Shaggy remix with Jamaican artist Popcaan. Since then, she’s been nothing short of flying, partnering with MAC for NY Fashion Week and totally killing the music game.
Her debut commercial single Bodak Yellow reached the top spot of the Hot 100 chart on September 25, 2017, the first time a solo female rapper has done that since Lauryn Hill in 1998.
As if that weren’t enough, her collaborations with other artists hit 2 and 3 at the same time, and she became the first female artist ever to hold the three top spots in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Gigi Lamayne has been killing it in her native country of South Africa since 2013, when she was still a teenager. Born Genesis Gabriella Tina Manney in 1994, she always had a love of singing and creativity, writing poems from the age of 11.
When she started rapping at the tender age of 16, she realized she had a talent for it, and soon the rest of her country realized, too, as she won not one, not two, but three awards in the South African Hip Hop Awards at the age of 19. Her talents were certainly recognized, with her scooping the awards for Best Newcomer, Best Female, and Best Mixtape, in one fell swoop. Now that’s what you call slaying. She won Best Female again in 2014.
One thing we LOVE about Gigi is her versatile style. Hop on her Instagram and check out how this girl can transform! One day she’s looking like a hip hop queen with a patterned tracksuit and grills in her mouth, the next she’s a Nubian Queen in an African print dress and a headwrap. There is no look this girl can’t rock and not look awesome.
She’s still on the scene, but has been a bit quieter in recent years. But no fear, we’re not for one moment assuming it’s because this young lady has run out of ideas. Nope. In 2016, she graduated from the University of Witwatersrand with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media and Anthropology, so her studies have certainly been keeping her busy.
We’re looking forward to seeing more of Gigi in the coming years, and we can’t wait to find out what she’ll release next.
We love her tune My Ugly Boy: