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Cardi B’s controversial past from gang member and stripper who drugged and robbed men to abusive relationship

SHE’S one of the most successful female rappers of all time, with a £30m fortune and a string of hits and a Grammy award under her belt.

But tomorrow Cardi B will appear in court, charged with an assault on two women in a strip club in 2019 - and she could be facing jail.

The 28-year-old, pregnant with her second child,  is facing 14 charges over allegations she ordered an attack on two bartenders, named as Jade and Baddie G, at Angels Strip Club in New York.

Cardi's entourage allegedly threw bottles and chairs at the women in a row over rumours Jade had slept with the star’s rapper husband, Offset, but she denies the charges.

The court case is the latest incident in the colourful life of the native New Yorker - who survived an abusive relationship, became a stripper at 16 and admitted to robbing punters.

"Whether or not they were poor choices at the time, I did what I had to do to survive,"  she has said of her past.

"I was blessed to have been able to rise from that but so many women have not."

Since finding fame she has made headlines for her raunchy videos, rocky marriage and public feud with chart rival Nicki Minaj.

Here we look back at the wildlife of the WAP star - from teen gang member to superstar.

Scrapping and hanging out with Bloods

As a child growing up in the Bronx Cardi - real name Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar -  was a “fragile child” with severe asthma and was hospitalised so often her mum was convinced she would die in the night.

Despite a strict Catholic upbringing, she grew up in a tough neighbourhood and often got into a scrap. 

"I was always a pretty girl and always mad-hype so everyone wanted to fight me so I had to fight them back," she has said.

She has since admitted being a member of the Brims - a subsection of the Bloods, a violent street gang. 

In 2018, she tweeted: "Cardi F***** B and the B stands for Brim."

She told GQ: "When I was 16 years old, I used to hang out with a lot of Bloods. 

“I used to pop off with my homies. They'd say 'You should turn Blood.' And I did.”

She added that being in a gang didn’t “make you one dollar”.

“Sometimes it's almost like a fraternity, a sorority,” she added.

“And sometimes I see people that's in the same gang kill each other. So sometimes there is no loyalty. Sometimes you gotta do certain things to get higher, to get higher and higher. You're doing all of that and you not making money off of it.”

She went on to say she avoided talking about it because she didn’t want any young people to think it’s ok to join a gang.

Stripping ‘saved my life’

As a teenager, Cardi was thrown out by her mum and moved in with her then boyfriend.

But the relationship was abusive and it was only when she landed a job as a stripper, at the New York Dolls club, that she found the strength to leave. 

“I was that teenager who was like, I don’t need nobody,” she told Vogue 

“But my boyfriend kept cheating on me. He and I used to get into arguments, hitting each other a lot. Girls like to say, ‘I will beat a n***a’s ass.’ I used to have that mentality. 

“I used to hit my first boyfriend, until he started hitting me back and it just got out of control. But I started stripping, and I made enough money to move out.”

She admits she was embarrassed at first, saying: “I felt like I could hear my parents' voices in my head.

"After a while I didn't even care anymore. I was seeing money that I feel like I would've never seen ever."

She has also said stripping distanced her from gang life. 

“Stripping changed my life. When I was a stripper, I didn't give a f*** about gangs, because I was so focused on making money.”

When I was a stripper, I didn't give a f*** about gangs, because I was so focused on making money.

Cardi B

But she recently admitted to drugging and robbing men who asked her to their hotel rooms.

"I had to go strip, I had to go, 'Oh yeah, you want to f*** me?,” she said.

“Yeah, let's go back to this hotel,' and I drugged n****s up, and I robbed them. That's what I used to do."

But she added that she was not proud of her actions, saying: "I had limited choices."

Cardi’s famous figure also took shape in her stripping days when, noticing girls with big butts made more money, she paid £580 to have filler injected into her buttocks by a woman in a basement in Queens.

"They don't numb your ass with anything," she says.

"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."

Cardi also used her money to fund education and by the time she was 21 she'd saved £15,000. Two years later, after social media videos gained her 40million followers,  she gave it up.

Fame, motherhood and rocky marriage

Fame beckoned in 2015, when she became a regular on VH1 reality show Love & Hip Hop: New York.

Her stage name came from a childhood nickname, Bacardi, which she got because her sister was named Hennessy, after a brandy.  

The show - where she talked about a boyfriend in jail - helped launch her career and, after two seasons, she quit to focus on music. 

By the time her first studio album, Invasion of Privacy was released in 2018, she had secretly wed rapper Offset and was pregnant with his child.

“There are so many moments that I share with the world and there are moments that I want to keep for myself!” she revealed after TMZ discovered the secret wedding, months later.

“Getting married was one of those moments! Our relationship was so new, breaking up and making up, and we had a lot of growing to do but we was so in love we didn’t want to lose each other.”

She revealed it was so spur of the moment that she “said I do with no dress, no make-up and no ring.”

In July 2018, she gave birth to daughter Kulture Kiari but not everything was rosy in the household.

When the baby was just six months old, the couple split over reports he was cheating, which he denied.

They were back together for the Grammys, in 2018, with Offset accompanying his wife on stage as she collected the Best Rap Album gong, but more drama was coming their way.

The alleged strip club assault was one of many rows over his suspected cheating and the pair split again in 2019, before being reconciled.  

In September 2020, Cardi filed for divorce but once more she took him back - but she slammed fans for calling the relationship abusive.

In a Twitter rant, she said: “I’m not in a physically abusive relationship. I’m not in a mentally abusive relationship. I have choices.”

She also claimed she filed for divorce because she wanted to teach him a lesson, adding: “I could do that. It’s my life. I’m not getting no f***ing abuse.”

Last month, Cardi revealed she was pregnant with a second child by posting a picture of a naked baby bump post. She also showed off her growing tummy when she joined Offset at the 2021 BET Awards.

Bad blood with Nicki Minaj

Cardi’s long running feud with Nicki Minaj began with side swipes in lyrics which stopped short of naming names.

But they came to head in September 2018, at the afterparty for a Harper’s Bazaar Icons event, when Cardi threw a designer shoe at Nicki before being escorted out by security. 

Videos of the altercation circulated online, showing Cardi B lunging for someone towards the end of the party while bodyguards hold her back.

She was seen leaving with a rip in her Dolce & Gabbana dress and no shoes. She later claimed Nicki questioning her parenting skills had been the final straw. 

“I’ve let a lot of s*** slide! I let you sneak diss me, I let you lie on me," seh ranted.

"You’ve threaten other artists in the industry, told them if they work with me you’ll stop f****** with them!! I let you talk big s*** about me!!

Controversies and sexual assault 

At the height of the #MeToo movement, Cardi spoke out about a sexual assault at a magazine shoots. 

She told TV and radio host Angie Martinez: “I went to shoot for this magazine and the photographer, he was trying to get close to me like, ‘Yeah, you want to get in this magazine?’ 

“Then he pulled his dick out. I was so f***ing mad … You know what’s crazy? I told the magazine owner and he just looked at me like, ‘So? And?’”

More recently she caused a stir by stripping naked and grinding up against singer Normani in the raunchy video for the song Wild Side. 

She also hit out at critics who said the raunchy scenes were “queer baiting”, or using the LGBTQ+ community for her own gain.

She tweeted: “You do know we was trying to hide a whole baby bump right? 

“Also I’m married to a man but I have express soo much about my bisexuality and my experiences with girls. All of a sudden 'queer baiting' is the new word & people use it to the ground!”

With the hearing this week, Cardi will be contemplating the prospect of a jail sentence, and possibly even being locked up while pregnant.

But the strong-willed rapper - who has rejected a plea bargain and pleaded not guilty to all charges - will be defiant in the face of adversity.

She has already told fans: "I ain't going to jail. I got a daughter!" She'll now be hoping that prediction will come true.

Pregnant Cardi B and Normani strip NAKED and grind against each other in raunchy video for new song Wild Side

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