Writer/director Lee Daniels is taking credit for helping Cardi B score her big break after discovering her when she auditioned for his TV show Star three years ago.
The Precious filmmaker remembers becoming fascinated by the rap star's bubbly personality back in October, 2015, when he was in the casting process for his musical drama series, and although she didn't score the job, Lee gave her a moment in the spotlight by sharing a short video clip of Cardi on his Instagram page.
"I was looking for somebody for Star, and I said do you mind if I take a (video)?," he recalls in a chat with TMZ. "This is before she got onto the (Love & Hip Hop: New York reality show)."
In the footage, which remains on Lee's Instagram profile, he appeared on camera with the former stripper and said, "Guess who popped into my audition?"
"How you doin' America? I finna (I'm going to) surprise everybody!" beamed Cardi, as Lee quipped, "I think I found my next discovery!"
According to Lee, Love & Hip Hop producer Mona Scott-Young saw his post, and actually tracked down Cardi as a result of the Internet introduction.
"Mona told me she hired her from my Instagram!" he explains.
Cardi rose to fame after featuring on the reality show, but quit last year (17) to focus on her hip-hop career, which took off last summer with her smash hit Bodak Yellow.
Lee admits Cardi is his favourite rapper at the moment, and he is so proud of how far she has come, although he's not sure if the 25-year-old, real name Belcalis Almanzar, remembers how he helped to launch her career.
"I don't know," he muses, when asked if Cardi gives him any credit for her early success. "I've seen her a little bit (since). She's fantastic."
Cardi, who is heavily pregnant with her first child, has yet to comment on Lee's remarks, but she has continued to make history since bursting onto the music scene, after her I Like It collaboration with Bad Bunny and J Balvin hit the top of America's singles chart earlier this week (02Jul18). The achievement makes her the first female rapper to land two number ones on the Billboard Hot 100.