Cardi B’s rise from reality TV to rap superstardom was impossible to predict. In 2015, the Bronx bombshell was turning up on her Love & Hip Hop: New York castmates with rapidfire clapbacks that should have alerted us to her deadly flow in the booth. In just six years, she’s parlayed her mic skills into boosting her brand—and lining her pockets.
From A-list endorsements to big time partnerships, Cardi’s bank account hasn’t stopped booming since 2017, the same year she took home trophies for “Best New Artist” and “Best Female Hip Hop Artist” at the BET Awards. With five nominations at this year’s show, including “Best Collaboration” with Megan Thee Stallion for “WAP,” we took a closer look at ways the rapper teamed up outside of the recording booth to build her empire.
“ I feel so damn powerfu,.” Cardi B said to reality show cameras in 2015. She hadn't seen nothing yet. After her transition to music, fashion giant Tom Ford was begging Cardi to let him put her name on his products. During New York Fashion Week 2018, they teamed up to release a cobalt blue lipstick shade called Cardi B. It sold out in under 24 hours, proving Cardi’s massive crossover potential, which now has her estimated net worth pushing $30 million.
“I feel so damn powerful,” Cardi said to reality show cameras in 2015. She hadn’t seen nothing yet. After her transition to music, fashion giant Tom Ford was begging Cardi to let him put her name on his products. During New York Fashion Week 2018, they teamed up to release a cobalt blue lipstick called Cardi B. It sold out in under 24 hours, proving Cardi’s massive crossover potential, which now has her estimated net worth pushing $30 million.
Reebok recognized the value of starting a venture with Cardi and paid her beautifully to help push their Aztek sneaker. Reebok’s president Matthew O’Toole explained, “For us, she really is emblematic of what our brand has done well over the years and that is to be bold, provocative and uninhibited.” Reebok felt Cardi was the perfect fit for them because, “If we look at some of the things we’ve done with Allen Iverson… when we are at our best, we are with people who are comfortable living out loud and Cardi fits that.”
In 2018, Cardi joined fellow icons Beyonce, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson as a featured spokesperson for Pepsi. Throughout a 12-month partnership, she starred in the brand’s biggest campaigns, including Super Bowl and holiday season commercials that were viewed by hundreds of millions. As the elves in her Christmas commercial sang in Cardi’s Twerk Shop, “Here comes Cardi B, She’s gonna make it rain!”
Digital retailer FashionNova came calling in 2019 as Cardi’s music and starpower were becoming undeniable. In a BET.com interview right before the line debuted, Cardi said, “It's almost like premiering an album. It's something I've wanted to do and dreamed of and now dreams are coming true." The Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer lines both sold out instantly, like everything else Cardi puts out. Her goal was to make high-fashion accessible to women of all ages and sizes so that everyone can feel empowered and rich. Their partnership was so lucrative that Cardi and FashionNova teamed up to give away $1 million in COVID-19 relief in 2020.
Cardi B’s most recent money move is a hilarious new show for social media viewers that will challenge her to become an expert in professions that are way out of her comfort zone. From classic ballet to stunt racing, Messenger Presents, “Cardi Tries___” was yet another genius use of Cardi’s hilarious personality. “I just really want people to have a good time watching this show, bring happiness, bring smiles, bring laughter,” said Cardi in an interview with BET.com. If we could only follow her footsteps in laughing all the way to the bank.
Watch the 2021 BET Awards on June 27 at 8/9C p.m.
(Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)