From Lauryn Hill to Cardi B

How Much the World Has Changed Since a Woman Last Charted at #1


By Jaylin Paschal 

Cardi B has topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with solo single “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” which was undisputedly the song of the summer. She is the first woman Hip-Hop artist to do this with no feature since Lauryn Hill. Missy Elliot (“Work It”), Lil Kim (“Magic Stick” ft. 50 Cent) and Nicki Minaj (“Anaconda”) only ever hit #2. 

Which is what we keep hearing on the radio and reading on Twitter — “The first since Lauryn Hill.” But how long is that, really? 

Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” charted at #1 in 1998. Just how much has the world changed since then? 

1998 — Lauryn Hill tops the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

1999 — Bill Clinton acquitted. 

2001 — The iPod is invented.

2001 — 9/11 attacks on New York, NY and Washington, D.C. 

2003 — Iraq War begins. 

2004 — Facebook is launched.

2008 — President Barack Obama is elected as the first African American president of the United States.

2011 — Osama Bin Laden is killed.

2011 — Iraq war ends.

2013 — Scientists successfully clone stem cells.

2016 — Donald Trump is elected President.

2017 — Cardi B tops the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

And from these ten events — which only constitute a small bit of the history that’s elapsed  (keep in mind no police murders, mass shootings or economic crises are included)— how ridiculous this time gap is becomes a little more apparent. It’s a feat for women in Hip Hop, but moreso a milestone for the culture in general. Cardi’s quick rise to the top without a male cosign or overt sexualization (re: “Work It,” “Anaconda”) is proof that the rules of the game are changing, slowly but surely. 

Jaylin PaschalComment