Review: Cardi B’s New Album ‘Invasion of Privacy’ The year Cardi B, for a second time
At what point on Cardi B’s new album can fans truly grasp that she’s unstoppable?
Maybe it’s when the beat goes double time on her debut album Invasion of Privacy’s opening track Get Up 10. Or when Chance the Rapper shows up to declare she’s living her Best Life. Or on her absolutely fuego bilingual duet with Bad Bunny and J Balvin on I Like It. Or on any one of her previously released tracks — like Be Careful or Bartier Cardi or the immortal Bodak Yellow — that remind listeners exactly how long she’s been dominating hip hop since her unlikely-yet-completely welcome emergence last year.
And it likely won’t take fans until the very end of the album to realize how good Invasion of Privacy really is, but in case they need convincing, the closing track I Do seems destined for status as a single, a surprise duet with the similarly-beloved singer SZA.
Yet, true Cardi B fans probably already knew their idol had a hit on her hands. Because, especially for such a new star, the rapper has come out of the gate since Bodak Yellow rarely making a misstep when it comes to her releases. On Invasion of Privacy, she shows an impressive range that stretches beyond her more worrisome impulses — like insisting on dedicating sizable chunks of her songs to her devotion to her fiance Offset on tracks like Bartier Cardi and her appearance on Migos’ Motorsport. Cardi and Offset’s relationship ups-and-downs have been well documented on her social media and in interviews, and the dramas play out in vivid detail on tracks like the deliciously threatening Be Careful and the painfully relatable Thru Your Phone.
At 13 tracks, Invasion of Privacy isn’t overstuffed with endless filler tracks like many releases by Cardi’s rap peers. Leave it to Cardi, marketing queen, to know that fans get exhausted when performers overstay their welcome in attempts to rack up streaming numbers. The hip hop star likely doesn’t have to worry about that, considering her album seems destined for charts success, if Bodak Yellow’s record-breaking last year was any indication. Even when Bodak was still scaling the Hot 100, however, there were still questions whether Cardi was a one-hit wonder, whether she’d be able to follow the song’s success with a proper album.
Luckily for fans, Invasion of Privacy is good enough to validate her status as one of hip hop’s most promising talents. It’s the kind of debut that ensures her star isn’t diminishing anytime soon.
In an age of slurred mumble-rap and sing-song delivery, there’s an old-school satisfaction in hearing someone deliver their bars with such, well, finesse. There’s even a touch of Biggie to the way she balances a thick local accent with absolute clarity and perfectly weighted metre, but her way of drawing out vowels before slamming them into teeth-kissing consonants is all her own. Cliches like “I did this on my own, I made this a lane” still work, meanwhile, because Cardi B actually has done it on her own and made her own lane. Thanks to her killer punchlines, emotional range and just being a total force of nature, she has absolutely earned her “real-life fairy tale, Binderella shit”.