Before Cardi B, Who Was the First Female Rapper to Have a No. 1 Solo Song?
Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” has hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, making her the first female rapper to have a solo song reach No. 1 in 19 years, and only the second ever to do so. So who was the first?
That would be Lauryn Hill, who in 1998 released “Doo Wop (That Thing).” The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for two weeks. It was off of Hill’s debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which ultimately sold over 400,000 copies in its first week and eight million copies total. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” won Hill two Grammy awards, but she never released another album.
Now, almost two decades later, Cardi B is only the second female rapper to ever have a solo song reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A few other female rappers have reached No. 1 on the chart, but these were all for songs that featured another recording artist.
For instance, Lil’ Kim reached No. 1 in 2001 with “Lady Marmalade,” but this was with Christina Aguilera, Mýa, and Pink. In addition, in 2003, Shawnna reached No. 1 with “Stand Up,” but she was actually just featured on this song by Ludacris. In 2014, “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea reached No. 1, but this featured Charli XCX. These songs, in addition to “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and now “Bodak Yellow,” are the only songs from female rappers to ever reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, according to Billboard.
Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, but it has now been dethroned by “Bodak Yellow,” with Swift’s song moving down to No. 3. No. 2 on the list is Post Malone’s “Rockstar.”
“Bodak Yellow” was released back in June, and in August, it hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, under only “Wild Thoughts” and “Despacito.” Now, three months after its release, “Bodak Yellow” is the No. 1 song in the country, and Cardi B has accomplished a task only one other person, Lauryn Hill, has accomplished before.