Review: ‘Invasion of Privacy’ cements Cardi B’s star status

There is no bigger name in hip-hop right now than Cardi B. It’s hard to believe now that critics once doubted her longevity in the industry after her Grammy-nominated hit “Bodak Yellow” was released last summer. But in her sizzling debut album, Invasion of Privacy, Cardi puts any doubts about her career to rest. Following in the footsteps of “Bodak Yellow,” her lyrics are raw, clever and humorous; her stances are often bold and her voice is always fresh.

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records.

Her distinctive voice — resulting from her South Bronx upbringing — paired with her clever lyrics, make Invasion of Privacy a breath of fresh air, especially in an industry that can be so controlling and restrictive. Cardi avoids these shackles on her debut album, while still making it an early standout among the hip-hop releases so far in 2018.

The album is 13 tracks, which gives it just enough time to not overstay its welcome. And it doesn’t, as the album gets straight to the point.

Invasion of Privacy is a solid album, with no filler tracks clogging the tracklist. Each individual song could carry its own weight as a single. The intro song, “Get Up 10,” is a fiery anthem of empowerment, as she recounts her rise to the top and the days before her music career when she was working as a stripper across the street from her school. In the chorus, she looks herself in the mirror and says, “Man I said we gon’ win/Knock me down nine times but I get up 10.” On this song, as well as the rest of the album, her delivery is always on point, and rarely does she let the production overtake her.

The track “I Like It” is delivered half in English and half in Spanish, Cardi’s first language. She brought along Latin trap singer Bad Bunny and Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin to lend their talents as well. The song will sound familiar to listeners because it samples the famous ’60s boogaloo track “I Like It Like That” by Peter Rodriguez.

The album is full of star-studded cameos, rendering Invasion of Privacy truly impressive for a debut album. Chance The Rapper makes an appearance on the song “Best Life,” a catchy tune that carefully blends Cardi’s signature aggressiveness with the fresh style Chance pioneered on Coloring Book. SZA raps both the intro and chorus on the song “I Do:” “Dress me down in that Raf, Saint Laurent jacket/Dapper, dapper, I look fine and my checks divine/No wonder, wonder why I do whatever I like,” their voices melding together and harmonizing perfectly. Other cameos include hip-hop trio Migos, rapper 21 Savage and R&B singer Kehlani. 

Less than a week after its release, Invasion of Privacy has already gone gold due to the success of prior singles, and the full project does not disappoint. As long as Cardi B stays true to herself and keeps the beats fresh, then it is safe to assume that Invasion of Privacy is only the start of what is sure to be a long, successful career with plenty of more gold to come.