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Album Review: Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy


Album Review: Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy

Jack Gillespie

It was easy for some people to write off Cardi B as a one-hit wonder. So many factors pointed toward that being the case. First, in a genre as currently crowded as trap rap, the chances of becoming a mainstay on the charts are becoming slimmer. Desiigner had one of the biggest songs of 2016, and he is already a footnote in the rap landscape at this point in time. On top of that, pre-”Bodak Yellow,” all that Cardi was known as was a reality show star with a decent following on Instagram.

Celebrities of that creed are not known for having especially long musical careers. To make things simple, Cardi B’s road to fame was an uphill battle.

But against the odds, she has become one of popular music’s brightest stars in just 10 months after the release of her breakout hit. Since then, she has not only appeared on four Top 10 hits, three of which have gone platinum, but she has become a cultural icon. She’s known for her personality just as much as her music.

However, as much of a sensation as she has become, she was going to need a successful, quality full-length project to solidify herself as a figure that was going to be a mainstay.

With Invasion of Privacy, Cardi has done exactly that.

With many of the best tracks on Invasion of Privacy, it shows that Cardi knows her strengths very well. All of the elements that made her biggest songs stick in the minds of many is presented in spades on the albums highlights. “Get Up 10,”  “Bickenhead,” and “I Like It” are deep cuts that do a great job of showing off Cardi’s distinct voice, larger-than-life personality and balance of humor, cleverness and bluntness when it comes to her lyricism.

“Get Up 10” is especially noteworthy as a dramatic, hard-hitting rags to riches story that has Cardi recounting her rise from stripper days to superstardom ‒ a journey she owes to her independence and perseverance.

The only times where the more energetic tracks fail to impress are when featured artists don’t mesh well with Cardi’s style. While the idea of Cardi B and Chance the Rapper, two striking rap figures with unique voices, on the same track sounds great on paper, the collaboration ends up being a tad disappointing. The duo fail to bring a harmonious vibe with their performances and sound like they belong on two separate songs. YG, on the other hand, just contributes a plain bad chorus on “She Bad.”

The hits are a bit harder to come by when looking at the more low-key tracks. “Be Careful” definitely deserved to be the single more than the other subtle songs, and Cardi and SZA work quite well together on “I Do.” But others like “Ring” are much too commercial to keep Cardi’s personality intact. These tracks also feature more of Cardi’s singing, which is pleasant but not her strong point.

As much as the softer songs drag the album down, the majority of Invasion of Privacy is made up of songs like “Bodak Yellow” and not like “Thru Your Phone.”

Cardi B was counted out by quite a few due to her history as a reality show staple. However, it’s what she’s criticized for most of all that has helped her become the phenomenon she is. She knows how to catch attention. Whether it be her one-of-a-kind presence, infectious energy or even her never-ending supply of quotables, she is the kind of artist that audience will want to keep around. This is exactly what Invasion of Privacy proves and future projects will continue to prove.