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REVIEW: Cardi B more than lives up to the hype with her debut

Making Money Moves

Cardi B is already on top of the world right now having previously released two platinum-selling singles before ever releasing a studio album. The Bronx native would win her way into the hearts of listeners with her unabashed lyricism, never letting her status as a sex symbol or her past prevent her from speaking her mind.

Her long-awaited debut album, Invasion of Privacy, is available now from Atlantic Records. And while it’s arguably one of the most anticipated rap albums of 2018 so far… it more than lives up to the hype.

Just in case you didn’t already check your gender bias at the door, the album opens with “Get Up 10,” an unrelenting, in-your-face torrent of wordplay that is so blunt and unafraid it sent chills up the spines of the male-dominated hip-hop game. Produced by Southside, co-founder of the 808 Mafia production team, the track talks about how Cardi B literally went from a life as a stripper to a rap superstar.

“Drip” was released a day before the album as a promotional single and features Atlanta rap trio Migos. Produced by Nonstop Da Hitman & Cassius Jay, the posse cut features verses from Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff, who rap about their rise to success and all the haters who told them otherwise.

Cardi continues to be a trendsetter with her sexually charged track “Bickenhead,” produced by Keyzbaby & Ayo The Producer. Derived from the derogatory and overtly sexist slang referring to oral sex, “Chicken Head,” a term that was first popularized by Project Pat in 2001. The song is hardly a pro-feminist anthem, although it does have subtle overtones about being independent and making money. 

“I’ma flex like a boy / I’m a ten, she a joy / Stupid ho, unimportant, unattractive, unemployed.”

Despite rumors that her third single, “Be Careful,” was a warning to her fiancé Offset not to be dishonest in their relationship, Cardi B recently appeared on the Beats 1 Radio program, “Ebro in the Morning,” to clarify what it was really about.

“No, I wasn’t talking about Offset,” she said. “I was just talking about things I relate to and that have happened to me. First of all, I heard the record before I even was in love with Offset like that.”

She taps a more inspirational and uplifting melody on the track, “Best Life” featuring Chance the Rapper. The two exchange verses on the track all about overcoming life’s many obstacles and learning from past mistakes. It’s also the first time on the album we see her take a much deeper introspective look at what she has been able to accomplish thus far.

The Nuyorican rap artist openly expresses her love for Latin music on the “I like it,” features J Balvin and Bad Bunny on this hip-hop remix of the 1967 Latin dance classic “I like it like that,” by Pete Rodriguez.

Singer-songwriter Kehlani links up with Cardi on the track, “Ring,” a slightly softer and more relatable-themed pop song all about waiting up for that special someone to call you back, which she follows with a brand new banger “Money Bag” produced by J. White Did It, who also worked with Cardi on her chart-topping hit, “Bodak Yellow.”

Perhaps one of the album’s biggest highlights is the multi-purpose banger, “She Bad,” featuring YG. Produced by DJ Official and DJ Mustard, the song is one of a very few that could pass both in the strip club and at a Bachelorette party.

Cardi B continues to show an unspoken support for some of her fellow female musicians as the album draws to a close. “Thru Your Phone” is another pop hit in the making which speaks about keeping faithful in a relationship and features additional vocals by guest songwriter Ali Tamposi.

The album closes with “I Do” featuring Grammy-nominated R&B singer SZA on this track about doing your own thing, no matter what anybody else says and staying true your message. It’s a truly inspired end to an outstanding debut.

RATING: 5 / 5

LISTEN: CARDI B – ‘INVASION OF PRIVACY’

 

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