Invasion of Privacy

"Cardi B"

Jun 28, 2019

Cardi B Shatters All Expectations With Her Debut Album

Written by @Akaash from Hip-Hop-N-More / 6 mins read

It’s a feint, distant memory, but if I think back hard enough, I can still recall a time when Cardi B being a rapper at all was considered a joke, let alone a successful one. Back then, her name was synonymous mainly with Love & Hip-Hop: New York, perhaps along with some of the old videos she’d post on Vine. She made her musical debut in late 2015 and due to her fame, she got a following fairly quickly, but she wasn’t taken seriously for a while. That of course changed with the release of “Bodak Yellow” in the summer of 2017. The song was an anthem and quickly became one of the biggest records out. When she came out at OVO Fest to perform it, the crowd went crazy and she received one of the best receptions on a night that boasted surprise performances from Tory Lanez, Migos and Travis Scott. It felt as though the transition had taken place overnight, but it was years of persistence and hard work. Drake called it the record of the year that night and it was hard to disagree. Despite the fact that Cardi’s background was previously a drawback for her, it now became a reason to root for her, as fans saw themselves in her. She was down to earth and easy to get behind. Social media started to passionately campaign for her, wanting her to get a #1 record with “Bodak Yellow” and on September 25th, that goal was reached. Cardi B became the first female rapper to reach the top of the charts with a solo record since the legendary Lauryn Hill did it in 1998.

The Pressure Was On After The Success Of “Bodak Yellow”

A movie of the come up could have been made already and this would be the perfect ending, but there were no plans for it to be the end of the real life story. This was only the beginning. Having a hit single is great, but no-one wants to be remembered for a big song and fade away only to become a one hit wonder. The pressure was on and Cardi was definitely feeling it. In an interview at The Breakfast Club, Angela Yee asked if her album was still a month away and she said that it wouldn’t be coming out then because the album she thought she had wasn’t the one. “It’s just like damn, I’m competing with myself” she said. A few days later, J. Cole took to Twitter to say that he loved the interview and to give a piece of advice that he learnt from his own experience. “Don’t put all that pressure on your album. You already won. Just drop & repeat” he wrote. A few months later came the second single for the album, “Bartier Cardi” with 21 Savage. People immediately compared it to “Bodak Yellow” because that’s human nature, but that wasn’t fair. The song was a worthy successor and still peaked at #14 on the charts. “Cardi took your man you upset… Cardi put the pussy on Offset” she raps on the chorus. The beat and flow compliment each other so well that I’ve caught myself, as a straight male, rapping along to these lyrics multiple times and I don’t even care. In fact, there’s no music on the entire album that I feel uncomfortable listening to just because I’m a man, which I think is a special feat.

The Album Features Impressive Guests But Cardi Can Hold Her Down

Invasion Of Privacy kicks off with “Get Up 10”, a strong opening statement. The song is reminiscent and actually interpolates Meek Mill’s classic Dreams & Nightmares intro in that it starts off with an atmospheric instrumental and a piano, then the rapping builds up to the climax and the beat drop is all the more impactful. Even past this comparison, I think that Cardi B being likened to Meek is fair and a huge compliment. Both rappers’ fanbases find immense motivation in even their most braggadocios lyrics and they both take pride in having the hardest songs out. The intro goes into track number two, “Drip” featuring Migos. Migos are one of just eight guests across the album’s thirteen tracks, with the others being YG, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Chance The Rapper, SZA, Kehlani and 21. That’s impressive considering every artist in the world might’ve wanted a spot on this LP and it would’ve have been easy for Cardi to succumb to that pressure and make the project a showing out party for her friends and peers. One of the best moments on the album comes on a solo song called “Be Careful.” It was the project’s third single. The song is a warning to a partner who has been unfaithful, which Cardi said is not about Offset. When the song first came out, I saw criticism of the hook. Cardi sings it herself and though she holds her notes successfully, it sounds unpolished. But that’s the same reason that I loved it. It felt like a chorus that anyone could sing along to and feel like they were doing it justice and made the song all that more relatable.

Success Continues To Pour In For Cardi B

Like she said, Cardi B was competing only with herself with her debut album which is often the most difficult opponent of them all. The album is by no stretch of the imagination a lacklustre effort and it’s difficult to argue with the fact that she knocked all expectations out of the park, likely even her own. Just dropping a great album would have been enough, but the LP actually ended up spawning a second #1 single in “I Like It”, considerably a bigger single than “Bodak Yellow.” When you get to that level of success, people will always try to discredit you and the jealousy comes. Cardi has had to deal with people who shun her because of rumoured ghostwriters and as a Hip-Hop enthusiast and purist, I’ll be the first to tell you that it doesn’t really matter in this scenario. Cardi would be the first person to say that she doesn’t care about being a lyricist on the level of MF Doom or Black Thought, so someone helping her pen lyrics is obsolete. Invasion Of Privacy will be remembered as an album that somehow exceeded expectations that seemed to high to meet and Cardi deserves all of that praise.