It’s been a hell of a year for Cardi B. She was already famous as an innovative singer and top-notch entertainer. And then her bawdy song “WAP” (featuring Megan Thee Stallion) ended up being the defining anthem of 2020.
Between her fame and her wild songs, you might think you know the real Cardi B. But the truth is that there are facts about this singer that will surprise even her biggest fans.
Here, then, are the most surprising facts about Cardi B you never knew!
Regal real name
It probably won’t surprise you that “Cardi B” is a stage name. But what will surprise you is Cardi B’s real name!
Her real name is Belcalis Almanzar. It’s understandable that she switched to something a little catchier for her stage name. But her real name is also packing some cool history!
For example, “Belcalis” is a reference to the Queen of Sheba. In the Bible, this queen is one of the most powerful figures. Meanwhile, Almanzar comes from the Arabic “al mandhar” and translates to “watchtower.”
Cardi’s real name showcases the beliefs and culture of her parents. After all, her father is Dominican and her mother is Trinidadian.
The story behind the name ‘Cardi B’
Now you know the story behind Cardi B’s real name. However, you might be surprised at the story behind her stage name.
Cardi B laid all of this out in a hilarious interview with Jimmy Fallon. She said that “my sister’s name is Hennessy, so everybody used to call me Bacardi.” And early on, she used this as her social media handle. As she said, “it was my Instagram name, Bacardi, Bacardi B.”
So, why does she now go by just “Cardi” instead of “Bacardi?” The singer told Fallon that “for some reason, my Instagram kept getting deleted, and you know what, I think it was Bacardi that had something to do with it. So I just shortened it to Cardi B.”
She has since turned that new moniker into a worldwide brand. But she would have an entirely different stage name if not for her sister being named Hennessy. Then again, she’d have no famous name at all if she didn’t start from the bottom.
Started from the bottom
It’s easy to look at someone as rich and famous as Cardi B and imagine them as completely out of touch. However, the singer had some very humble beginnings. How humble? Working retail!
When she was younger, Cardi B worked at the Amish Market in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. There, she worked as a full-time cashier and only earned $250 a week. As it turns out, getting fired from that gig was the best thing that could happen!
In an interview with Fader, Cardi said that she was fired for giving a big discount to a coworker. And the manager that fired her had some unexpected advice: “He was like, ‘You’re so pretty, you got a nice body.’ He told me to go across the street to New York Dolls, the strip club. That’s when I started stripping.”
To most people, that advice would have been garden variety sexual harassment. But Cardi B transformed it into a lucrative career that she used to become a social media megastar. From there, she was cast on VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop, which helped eventually launch her musical career.
The “Bodak Yellow” breakout
How can you tell when a star has really “made it?” It varies from star to star, but it’s pretty clear with Cardi B’s career. It all goes back to her hit 2017 single “Bodak Yellow.”
The song wasn’t just successful: it made history. Before that, there were no solo female rappers who made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 since Lauryn Hill released “Doo Wop (that thing)” in 1998. And Cardi B became only the fifth female rapper to land her album at the top of the charts!
These successes helped to make Cardi B into a feminine icon. And whenever she needed additional inspiration, she had a female icon of her own to look up to!
While Cardi B helped redefine rap music, her favorite singer growing up wasn’t a rapper. Instead, it was Madonna! Cardi grew up rocking out to Madonna and even performed “Material Girl” in high school when she was a freshman.
Fortunately, Cardi B got to fulfill her dreams and meet Madonna when she performed at Madonna’s Oscars afterparty. As Billboard reports, Cardi B wrote about the experience on Instagram. “I met my real life IDOL Madonna. I can’t even believe I performed at her event and it was the most meaningful performance ever.”
They say you should never meet your heroes, but that wasn’t the case for Cardi B. She found out that Madonna “was everything i thought she would be a Liberal Kick ass feminist bitch. I’m soo happy.”
Dangerous plastic surgery
Unlike many celebrities, Cardi B has been fairly open about her experiences with plastic surgery. Shockingly, one of her earliest plastic surgery experiences might very well have killed her!
When Cardi was 21, her boyfriend cheated on her. And noting that the other woman had a bigger butt, Cardi B decided to do something about it. She spent $800 getting butt injections in a shady basement, and the experience went exactly like you would imagine.
In an interview with GQ, Cardi B spoke about this harrowing experience. “It was the craziest pain ever. I felt like I was gonna pass out. I felt a little dizzy. And it leaks for, like, five days.”
Eventually, she tried to find the same doctor to get some touchups. However, “The lady got locked up ’cause she’s supposedly killed somebody. Well, somebody died on her table.”
Cardi B would go on to get surgery from much better doctors. But the simple truth is that she could have died on the table as surely as this doctor’s other patient did! But that’s still not as shocking as our final fact about the singer.
No driver’s license
Things looked pretty rocky in 2020 for Cardi B and her relationship with Offset. Possibly as a way of getting back into her good graces, Offset bought her an expensive Rolls-Royce Cullinan. There’s just one problem: she can’t drive!
Cardi B revealed this on Twitter. There, she wrote, “Just like that girl wrote a song about getting her drivers license Imma write a song about the struggle of not having a drivers license. I really wanted my McDonald’s at 4am last night instead of today but I couldn’t so I felt asleep hungry.”
The “girl” in question was actually Olivia Rodrigo, the singer of the smash hit “Driver’s License.” Rodrigo saw Cardi B’s tweet and actually volunteered to drive her around! As she wrote on Twitter, “girl i will pick u up and take u wherever u wanna go.”
Cardi was quite pleased, tweeting back, “Yaaayyy !!! Let’s go to McDonald’s and get happy meals!”