Cardi B: ‘Invasion of Privacy’ or Invasion to the mainstream?

By Ryan Reichard, arts and entertainment editor.

Cardi B burst into the mainstream last summer with her bonafide hit, “Bodak Yellow,” leaving everyone emphatically rapping along. And, as they say, a star was born. “Bodak Yellow” was a huge commercial success, topping the Billboard 100 for 3 weeks, becoming the longest running song by a solo female MC. It seemed she was destined for big things. So, how did her full-length debut “Invasion of Privacy” turn out?

To many, including this critic, Cardi B is a breath of fresh air in a rap game that’s male dominated. She brings the raw, visceral flows that are very reminiscent of Lil’ Kim in the best of ways. A perfect example of this is in her song “Thru Your Phone.” Cardi brings out the anger found in finding your lover cheating on you by looking through their phone.

On the album’s lead single “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B ferociously raps “Little b–tch, you can’t f–ck with me if you wanted to…” establishing her as a force not to be messed with. Cardi B’s raps are beyond that of a debut album. They are seasoned with a flow of someone you would expect to be on their third or fourth album. On top of that, Cardi has the charisma in her voice to carry complex flows without stumbling over phrases.

When it comes to lyrics, this is, to me, where the album shines the brightest. Cardi addresses several issues such as the infidelity of fiancé and Migos member Offset. On “Thru Your Phone” she raps: “I seen y’all little group texts where you all like to brag about your hoes.” Although she raps it with fury, there is a ting of heartbreak in her voice, signifying the truth of the lyrics.

And on “Ring” Cardi puts front and center the heartbreak of a lover, ignoring you: “And you ain’t hit me up in a while / Actin’ like you don’t know what number to dial / You quit, then that’s it, I’ma throw in the towel.” While these lyrics are a deep confessional, they communicate a universal message to which anyone can certainly relate.

However, on other songs Cardi raps about haters doubting her and her success showing them up: “Now I’m a boss, I write my own name on the checks,” she brags with confidence.

In terms of production, “Invasion of Privacy” features many of your standard hip-hop elements that are found all along the airwaves today, such as the standard trap beat (gritty, hard synthesizers in conjunction with rhythmic snares.) This percussion dominates songs like “Thru Your Phone” and “Money Bag.” But on other songs such as be careful Cardi incorporates a sample of Lauryn Hill’s iconic 1998 hit “Ex-Factor,” which surprisingly complements her flow very well.

What really makes this album stand out in terms of production are songs like “I Like It,” where Cardi B pays homage to Caribbean heritage by including Colombian reggaetón artist J Balvin and Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny. Throughout the song there are Spanish horns and in the first few seconds of the song Spanish guitar, followed by a Caribbean-influenced, bass-heavy beat.

You might as well buckle up, because on “Invasion of Privacy” Cardi B proves she’s here to invade the mainstream by proving she’s one of the most interesting to arrive this decade. For me, I am going to give this 4 out of 5 stars and one of the strongest debuts this decade from any genre.

Best Songs

“Best Life”

“Ring”

“I Do”

“I Like It”

“Bodak Yellow”

“Drip”

“Thru Your Phone”

Worst Songs

“She Bad”

“Get Up 10”

 

Comments are closed.