Invasion of Privacy & the movement that is Cardi B
In a way, we should’ve seen this coming from Belcalis Almanzar, otherwise known as Cardi B. “This” being the overwhelming success her debut album ‘Invasion of Privacy’ has accrued in literally under a week. She has been on a TEAR since the summer of 2017, when her most popular song “Bodak Yellow” -- a spin off Kodak Black’s 2014 track “No Flockin” -- truly blew up. It was the summer party anthem, one that got every woman to stand up and belt at the top of their lungs, “little b*tch you can’t f*ck with me if you wanted to” and “she say she gon’ do what to who? Let’s find out and see.”
Originally a stripper hailing from the Bronx, Cardi initially made a name for herself as a TV personality on Love and Hip Hop, and shocked the world when her song became #1 in the charts. Now, real Cardi fans know she’s been doing this way longer than “Bodak Yellow” with various mixtapes coming out prior (Gangsta B*tch Music’ Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) but “Bodak Yellow” is where she really made a name for herself.
Of course, there have been many artists come and go who have accomplished the same with a big single, but Cardi managed to stay relevant several months beyond just that song. Responding to fans on Twitter, hilarious Instagram videos, and her careless, bubbly personality overall made her easy to love. Which only put more pressure on her to keep up the heat. And keep up the heat she did.
Cardi found her way onto G Eazy’s “No Limit,” Migos’ “Motorsport,” and Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” Remix, adding catchy verses and showing what she could do, even when tasked with matching the energy and flow of more popular artists. The Afro-Latina even showed off her Dominican side with Spanish verses on Ozuna’s “La Modelo” and “Ahora Dice.” Her staying power increased significantly, but we waited on more original music from her alone, and the inevitable album, to fully evaluate her place in rap.
Then we got “Bartier Cardi” featuring 21 Savage, which brought the same uptempo energy as “Bodak Yellow” but showed her ability to utilize catchy ad libs, as well as the full extent of her flow. It was interestingly timed, given her now public relationship and engagement to Offset, of Atlanta trio Migos. Migos employ ad libs in every song, and it became clear that Cardi was adapting part of their style and making it her own.
Now, it hasn’t all been sweet for her. She’s had many haters, despite her come-up story being one that is typically beloved by hip hop fans. I’m confused as to when exactly the public stopped loving seeing the “common person” or someone from a less fortunate background achieve stardom, but I guess it has a lot to do with the morality of her being a stripper and reality TV personality -- but that’s a whole other problematic conversation, for a different day.
Cardi followed up with “Be Careful” which sampled Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” and showed a different side of her. She half-sung and half-rapped about love and a man not treating her right. There were rumors of Offset cheating on her, and speculation that it could’ve been aimed at him, but their relationship seems to be perfectly intact now -- especially with a baby on the way.
Last week, she unexpectedly dropped “Drip” ft. Migos, just days before her album was supposed to be released. This song showed a return to her gritty, upbeat rap and featured a verse from every member of the trio. So, four singles, an engagement to one of the hottest rappers in the game, and increasing popularity all prefaced her debut project. The pressure was certainly on, but Cardi and her team executed their plan perfectly.
Invasion of Privacy was a 13-track closer look into her life, how she views the haters, handles popularity, and just how many people approve of what she’s accomplished so far. The intro track “Get Up 10” was a hard, braggadocious start to the album. Twitter users have been likening it to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares Intro,” and it definitely brings the same vibe, with a calm start and aggressive transition into an uplifting anthem.
She tapped artists such as Chance The Rapper (“Best Life”), YG (“She Bad”), Kehlani (“Ring”), and SZA (“I Do”) -- who she has not hidden her love for on social media with a hilarious take on the TDE artist’s hit “The Weekend.” She tapped into her Dominican side yet again on track “I Like It” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin. This track has me trying to perfectly merge my bachata and hitting dem folks. Wait on it!
I didn’t know how badly I needed a Cardi and a Chance collab, but I feel so good every time I hear that one in particular. Their styles complement each other so well, but then again, Chance can really adapt to anyone. It’s Cardi’s ability to work with him which was most impressive. The SZA collab was a long time coming, but the Kehlani collab was a curveball. It really works though. When has a Kehlani hook not been heat?
Honestly, some of her best tracks were done individually though, like “Bickenhead,” “Moneybag,” and “Thru Your Phone.” There isn’t much bad to say about this album for me, personally. It’s a solid debut that proved many wrong and proved just as many right.
Of course it’s not all on her. SHOW LOVE TO YOUR PRODUCERS! Cardi got production work from Mike Dean, Boi-1da, Quavo, Southside, Cashmere Cat, and a slew of other musical masterminds. People love working with big names who can get their work recognition, but we cannot praise her without praising those who gave her the sound to spit over.
With the success of “Bodak Yellow,” “Bartier Cardi,” “Be Careful” and “Drip” the album was able to achieve Gold status on its RELEASE DAY. Of course, streams alone have a lot to do with it, but the accomplishment is still worthy of praise. Her marketing team dropped off one track here and there, allowing them to take off and leave fans wanting more until the album dropped. The album itself is full of anthems. Empowering songs for women, positive tracks for everyone to vibe to, and then the bangers. I love the way it was arranged, with her bangers and more vulnerable songs mixed together as opposed to separated between the front half and back half of the album.
Haters will always hate. They will say her voice and personality is annoying, they will say she has no talent, they will say she’s a gimmick. That’ll never change. However, with the positive reception this album has gotten -- including from big celebs like Diddy and Oprah -- and commercial success, I’m interested to see what they will look to focus on next. I’m not saying she will be a staple in the game for decades to come, but in a time where prominent female rappers are scarce and the empowerment of women is rapidly (and necessarily) increasing, we couldn’t have gotten Cardi B at a better time.
She was always around, but now she’s really getting attention. She is doing SuperBowl commercials, visits to Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon. It’s hard to be objective these days, I know, but I encourage you all to listen to the album and THEN evaluate her as an overall artist. It’s not about comparing her to Nicki Minaj or Remy Ma, but rather appreciating the artist for who she is on her own. Cardi B is a movement, like it or not. To quote “I Do” -- her little 15 minutes lasting long as hell. Okurrrrrrr!