Cardi B's 'Invasion Of Privacy' exceeds all (high) expectations

When Cardi B first rose to fame after appearing on the sixth season of hit reality TV show Love & Hip Hop New York, haters dismissed her because of her stripper past and in-your-face attitude. Even after the huge success of her debut single, ‘Bodak Yellow’ (which topped the charts straight away and is now certified platinum), it still felt like the Bronx-native and self-proclaimed boss-bitch had more to prove, as social media was rife with predictions that she was just a one-hit-wonder. As a lover of female rap, I had my fingers crossed that Cardi’s first album would be enough to silence the haters and it looks like my wish came true. With Invasion of Privacy, which was released last week and hit half a million sales on Monday, Cardi B has gone above and beyond all expectations.

As far as I’m concerned, there is only one message that can be taken away from Invasion of Privacy and that is that Queen Cardi is an unbeatable force. The album demonstrates how much she’s grown stylistically since her earlier mixtapes and shows off the rapper’s incredible versatility. She pays tribute to her Dominican roots in ‘I Like It’ when she spits effortlessly over a bachata-inspired* beat then two tracks later, in Money Bag, she gives us that classic witty Cardi lyricism we saw in ‘Bodak Yellow’; the lyric “I said bae it’s a snack/He said it’s an entrée” is nothing short of iconic, Instagram-caption-worthy gold. 

The 13 song EP boasts features from some of the most talented names on the scene with the likes of SZA, Chance the Rapper and Kehlani all making appearances. Cardi also did a track with her fiancee’s group Migos but for me, Drip falls flat, like she’s trying too hard to be the fourth member of Migos rather than her bloody-shoe-wearing, money-move-making self. My favourite song on the album doesn’t feature any big names but it does sample a big tune; ‘Bickenhead,’ a clever (and less derogatory) adaptation of Project Pat’s 2001 hip-hop banger ‘Chickenhead,’ has me shamelessly shoulder bopping and milli-rocking every time it comes on. 

The songs ‘Best Life’ and ‘Get up 10’ hint that this album is a celebration of Cardi’s come-up, and she deserves to celebrate - there are few in the industry who can say they have worked as hard as her to get where they are. My only hope for Cardi, now that she’s found success, is that she doesn’t follow the path of many female rappers before her and become increasingly censored or commercialised. If she stays true to herself and continues to deliver fantastic punchlines like ‘I don’t understand what this hate is about/how you gon’ suck yo man dick with my name in yo mouth?’ then Invasion of Privacy is just the tip (mind the pun) of the Cardi B iceberg.

*Bachata is a dance, similar to salsa, which originated in the Dominican Republic

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