By Peter A. Berry, a Third Bridge Creative contributor
Over the last six years, rapper Cardi B has used quippy bars, percussive flows, and a whole lot of charisma to turn guest slots into appointment listening. Her own mic prowess factors heavily into the equation, but her built-in following reinforces the potency of the Cardi co-sign; fans hungry for new music might tune in for her, but many walk away with a new fave. The temporary partnerships almost invariably get results, in large part because of Cardi B’s massive fanbase and her ability to live up to the hype. Let’s call it The Cardi B Effect.
Most artists can benefit from a Cardi guest spot, but the ones who benefit most are generally up-and-comers, as a verse from the former Love & Hip Hop star will usually mean a whole new audience.
GloRilla, "Tomorrow 2"
With the Tay Keith and Hitkidd-produced "F.N.F. (Let’s Go)”, Memphis rapper GloRilla was already on her way to stardom when she connected with Cardi B. To date, her pugnacious debut single has earned over 54 million Spotify streams along with 94 million YouTube views since dropping in April 2022. But Cardi accelerated Glo's rise when she hopped on “Tomorrow 2,” a remix of GloRilla’s earlier single, “Tomorrow.” Released alongside a music video that September, “Tomorrow 2” has earned 121 million Spotify streams and 168 million YouTube views, increases of over 1,600% and 496%, respectively. “Tomorrow 2” also stacks up favorably compared to “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” earning over 200% the amount of Spotify streams and YouTube views.
Her Chartmetric Score had hovered around 20k, but after the release of “Tomorrow 2,” it peaked at over 80k, leveling out at around 50k by the end of the year. While GloRilla’s current score sits just under 40k, that still puts her solidly above where she was before the Cardi feature, signifying a significant boost in all-around visibility.
FendiDa Rappa, “Point Me 2”
FendiDa Rappa’s breakout single, “Point Me to the Slut’s” got an unexpected shot of adrenaline when Cardi B jumped on the remix, “Point Me 2.” Simultaneously scabrous and raunchy, the original 2022 single was a deceptively infectious drill song that helped send Fendi further into the rap world’s consciousness, collecting 5 million Spotify streams. Once Cardi lended her racy bars on “Point Me 2,” Fendi saw her stream count and YouTube views reach career highs. “Point Me 2” has over 15 million Spotify streams, while the accompanying music video has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube — a 344% increase over the official audio video.
All this resulted in a No. 82 slot on the Hot 100 chart, giving Fendi her first placement on the Billboard charts. Though she hasn’t uploaded a follow-up single, at least some of the fans who tuned in for Cardi’s commanding guest spot will appreciate Fendi’s blunt force and charisma.
Latto, “Put It On the Floor Again”
Latto’s been leveling up since 2021, with a series of singles and stellar guest spots crystallizing her status as an emerging superstar. In her own way, she’s become a Cardi B-esque popularity booster, with features like her verse on TiaCorine’s “FreakyT (Remix)” being a primary example. Still, Latto didn't need a high-profile feature verse to be successful, but Cardi B’s feature on “Put It On Da Floor Again” only extended the marathon. The track is a remix of “Put It On Da Floor,” which has earned 7.8 million Spotify streams and 12.4 million YouTube views since its release last April.
Powered by a kinetic trap beat and plenty of petty flexes from Latto, the original song felt genetically engineered for Instagram captions and TikTok edits. So naturally, all of those factors only doubled once Cardi jumped on the remix in June. To date, “Put It on Da Floor Again” has earned 31.1 million Spotify streams, more than tripling the amount of the original. The increase in popularity is even more pronounced when looking at the video counts, where we can see that “Put It On Da Floor Again” earned 57.4 million YouTube views, an increase of over 362%. Latto’s overall Chartmetric Score boost was an episodic one rather than all at once, jumping from just over 69k at the end of May to a peak of nearly 90k in the first week of June for a 28% increase.
Kay Flock, "Shake It"
Kay Flock’s “Shake It” has a lot going for it; his raucous flow combined with a sample of Akon’s “Bananza (Belly Dancer)” makes it drill with a melodic twist—a single fitting for TikTok and the club. But a guest spot from fellow Bronx artist Cardi B opened him up to a whole new swath of fans, and a serious increase in streams. Stylistically, the track and the visual itself play out like a homecoming for Cardi, who’d adopted Migos-esque flow in her Invasion of Privacy era. This sprightly verse is linear and vicious, and the video is a call back to her 2017 track “Red Barz.” Clearly, Cardi’s inclusion on the track paid off. The song peaked at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, giving him his highest-charting single. Looking at the stream counts, it checks in as Flock’s third-most-trending song on Spotify with 65 million streams, but on YouTube, has 73.4 million views. Before “Shake It,” Kay Flock’s Chartmetric Score was hovering at around 12k, but in the days after the song’s release, he hit over 66k. It was an increase of over 450%, and Flock’s Chartmetric score stayed above 20k for two months.
Normani, "Wild Side"
Back in 2021, Normani also got a taste of the Cardi B stimulus package. The day “Wild Side” was released, Normani’s Chartmetric Score rested at 58,634. A week later, it peaked at almost 136k, marking a 132% increase for Normani. Her Chartmertic score stayed at over 70k through that December. “Wild Side” earned over 161.9 million Spotify streams while landing at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. As a solo act, the Hot 100 placement was her highest to date, and as a solo single.
Cardi B Benefits Too
While Cardi B supplies her artists with electrifying verses that invariably boost their visibility, the benefit is far from one-sided. With these features, she’s able to absorb the excitement of people who’ve generated their own new momentum. She keeps herself a part of the conversation by jumping into new ones, with her personality and quotable bars being perfect for TikTok edits. Her appearances on songs from newer artists create the impression that Cardi has never left the picture, even when she hasn’t released a solo project in over five years.
Dating back to 2017, about 70% of songs with a Cardi B guest verse have landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and those same songs have averaged more than 212 million Spotify streams. While some songs had more momentum than others when Cardi hopped on them, these trends point toward a propensity to land on big songs — or make them as big as they can be.
Graphics by Sarah Kloboves and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Sept. 19, 2023.