Love her or hate her, you know who Cardi B is. She made a grand entrance into the rap scene this past year with her debut single “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” earning the coveted number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Cardi B is the first female rapper to do so since Lauryn Hill released her own debut single “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998. Those who thought Cardi was another one-hit-wonder rapper will be disappointed to hear that her 15 minutes of fame are not over anytime soon, especially after the release of her first studio album, “Invasion of Privacy,” on April 6.
Prior to the release of her new album, Cardi dropped the single, “Be Careful,” at the end of March. This track has something that was missing from her two other singles; vulnerability and raw emotion. Instead of rapping about her newfound success and riches, she is talking about a more tender subject – her heart.
“Yeah my heart is a package with a fragile label on it / Be careful with me,” Cardi sings. Yes, you read that correctly, sings. Even though Cardi is not a trained singer, these lyrics, and the rest of the chorus for that matter, emote an emotional nakedness that is refreshing to hear. Despite the sensitive nature of the chorus, in the verses, there is still a strength to her voice which, ironically, communicates the insecurities she has felt in past relationships. Cardi has sultry, slower tracks like “Thru Your Phone” and “Ring,” featuring Kehlani, that also carry through this newfound vulnerability.
Also, interlaced in the mellow beats of “Be Careful” is Hill’s “Ex-Factor;” which was quite possibly just an untended homage to one of the female rappers that paved the way for others, like Cardi.
Fan favorites, like “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi” featuring 21 Savage, appear on “Invasion of Privacy” as well, but she made sure the new additions do not live in the shadows of these successful singles.
The album starts off on a vulnerable note that has not been identified with Cardi’s music thus far with the song “Get Up 10.” It is a personal sentiment to the struggles she has overcome throughout her life while trying to achieve success in the music industry. She has always taken pride in being herself, unapologetically, and embraces her rags-to-riches backstory; therefore, this song is undeniably Cardi’s life anthem.
Despite the Cardi-centered narrative, “Get Up 10” acts as a motivational speaker inspiring others to embody strength and perseverance when facing difficult circumstances. A wave of empowerment overwhelms the listener when Cardi’s passionate voice is heard in the chorus saying, “Knock me down nine times but I get up 10.”
Even though “Invasion of Privacy” debuted Cardi’s softer side, her fierce, sassy flare is not gone, but is simply modified by dabbling in different music genres. The song “I Like It,” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin, is a perfect example of Cardi harmoniously blending her fun-loving personality with a new musical element; Latin inspired sounds. This energetic, hip-swaying track will make you wish you were dancing at some Miami beach club and saying, “Havanna who?”
If there is one thing this album proves, it is that Cardi B has the potential to be a multifaceted rapper. She is far from one-note, but can still deliver her confident sound and quick-witted one liners fans have come to love in songs like “Money Bag” and “Bickenhead.”
The layers of intimacy and ferocity found in “Invasion of Privacy” are steps above your average rapper debut album and launch Cardi on her way to establishing herself as a rap god.