Cardi B is an archetype for how people can achieve fame in this day and age.

She’s made a name for herself in ways that had yet to be explored by our modern idea of a celebrity. We’re familiar with reality TV stars – the Kardashians launched and own that brand. Cardi followed in a conglomeration of that prototype with a personality and brand distinctly her own.

Bodak Yellow rocked the world over–I stand by my statement, she’s the most exciting thing happening in rap right now.

Here’s the deal: rap is a product.

It is a measured, produced, formulated form of music these days in which levels/bars/bass is designed to fit a type. Trap, mumble, old school, etc. Cardi B has flirted with several aspects of this – in some ways her relationship with Migos (not just Offset) is a well-played calculation, a mutually beneficial affiliation with a predictable outcome.

I was underwhelmed with Bartier Cardi. Not because it’s weak, just because I wanted… I wanted Makaveli lyricism from the newest female MC to grab headlines. Nicki Minaj is the femcee that opened all the doors in our day and age, but she was so quickly transformed into a pop-crossover her hardcore rap standing took a backseat to pushing numbers and accessibility. I am a cynical SOB, I worried the same would become of our Cardi B.

I was wrong. Cardi hasn’t lost any part of her that cared about her message and fought tooth and nail to be a distinct voice in the rap game. The rap game. Not the fame and figure game.

Invasion of Privacy is a bouncing, measured, personal and well-produced debut that at no point quiet’s Cardi’s voice and personality into something that people without a taste for the attitude, reality and honesty of true rap might find easier to stomach.

Her rapping on most tracks far surpasses my impressions of both Bodak Yellow and Bartier Cardi.

The opening track,

Get Up 10,

is a statement to set you up for what she intends to do with the rest of the album in a voice not dissimilar to Meek Mill–prove haters wrong, exceed expectations, confirm her worth with or without the aid of well-known names already solidified as contemporary rap veterans.

Drip

is about to blast out of every club you visit this summer. Her past as a stripper has never been something she’s ashamed of or shied away from addressing. “Is she a stripper, rapper, or singer?” Who cares, Cardi B’s living her best life and stacking up cash. Her former profession has provided her with more than dance moves that could make you go broke, all strippers possess an innate ability to hear and perform to music they know will get the whole club bouncing and now with her we get that intuition coming from a producer of music.

Bickenhead

has already threatened to blow the system in my car. I didn’t know how bad I needed Cardi B to tell me to get my money right until I heard this song.

Bodak Yellow

has been dissected so many times I’m not going to bother. It swept the world, made me nervous her follow-ups wouldn’t land as hard. Here I am, repenting for my skepticism.

Be Careful

is an anthem we needed to hear after news broke of Offset’s infidelity. Her live performance on SNL is one of the greatest performances that’s taken place on that stage. “Teach me to be like you so I don’t give a fuck,” is a statement I myself and plenty of my girl friends have all said or thought in the fallout of a relationship.

Best Life

is Cardi B back to revelling in her success and if she doesn’t deserve it, no one does. The addition of Chance the Rapper is always a win in my book.


“If I Like It isn’t a summer smash played to death on the radio then cancel summer, I don’t want any part of it.”


Ring

is an internal struggle we’ve all faced, a disappointment leading to that exhausting debate, ‘do I reach out first? Do I put my pride on the line?’ Cardi says no. I’m going to listen to her.

Money Bag

reminds you Cardi B doesn’t need any other names on her tracks for them to hit. “I been broke my whole life, I have no clue what to do with these racks.” The sudden rise to fame and notoriety has chewed up and spit out plenty of artists. I’m confident Cardi isn’t going to be one of them, even with the pregnancy potentially halting her output.

Bartier Cardi

like I said previously, didn’t really blow my mind. I think I don’t like the lyric about Offset, if I’m being honest. I guess I’m a little salty he’d take advantage of a young woman brand new to the game and the recognition that goes with it, but Cardi seems like she’s got her own back regardless of what happens.


She Bad made me lift 15 lbs over what I normally do at the gym. She Bad made me twerk for the first time. She Bad made me revisit all of YG’s work.”


Thru Your Phone

hit too close to home. The balance of the soft sung, saddened chorus vs Cardi’s vicious threats – “Oh, you wanna send nudes to my man? Wake up and see your boobs on the ‘gram.” – is a honest dichotomy we’ve all struggled with.

I Do

should be on repeat while you and the girls are getting ready to go out. Everything SZA does inspires and Cardi’s choices for names throughout the entire album are sublime.

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