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Why Cardi B is the breakout star of summer 2017

The best person at the 2017 VMAs, an otherwise exhausting 3-hour slog of outdated jokes and mostly-forgettable awards, was neither its host Katy Perry, nor the majority of performers who took the stage. No, it was Cardi B, whose WTF reaction to Ed Sheeran’s performance became the best meme of the night. That was before Cardi went on-camera to introduce Demi Lovato, and went off-script to pledge her support for Colin Kaepernick.

Cardi  was relegated to the VMAs pre-show to perform her breakout single Bodak Yellow, a shame, considering the track is currently sitting at No. 3 on the Hot 100, higher than any other artist who performed that night. With the success of Bodak Yellow, Cardi became rap’s highest-charting woman since Nicki Minaj's Anaconda in 2014. Few performers have had a summer, or even a year, as big as the 24-year-old star, whose rise to fame is a modern-day Cinderella story.

And in a year where pop music’s biggest female names have either stayed away from the spotlight or broken bad, Cardi B’s real-girl appeal and natural-born talents make her the underdog the industry needs.

Born Belcalis Almanzar and raised in the Bronx, Cardi epitomizes the modern ways that stars are born in 2017. She started as an exotic dancer, built a massive Instagram following, and began dabbling in music in 2015, right around the time she joined VH1’s Love & Hip Hop.

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