Album review: Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy

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'Erupting' onto the hip-hop scene with her debut single 'Bodak Yellow' in 2017, this year Cardi B has raised the stakes with her debut album Invasion of Privacy. Ready to get 'lost on in the sauce?' Layla Link reviews.

Before listening to Cardi B's new album, Invasion of Privacy (released 6 April) I wasn't even a Cardi fan. She's hit or miss, and to me, she was a miss. Hearing about her new album didn't increase my heartbeat. However, after ten minutes of listening I was addicted - her music just makes you feel Sassy (note the capital S), and the effect doesn't wear out. To quote trap forefather Gucci Mane, I got "lost in the sauce."

Invasion of Privacy has thirteen brand new tracks - and Cardi B might be tired and pregnant, but her songs are far from lacking in energy, in fact, they pop with colour.

Forty-eight minutes long, Invasion of Privacy feels like you're on an effortlessly soundtracked, trendy trip.

It's less a rap than a story. Twenty-five-year-old Cardi erupted onto the hip-hop scene with her debut single ‘Bodak Yellow' in 2017. By August, 'Bodak Yellow' had entered the top two of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Arriving almost a year after its first single meant the album was more likely to be judged by that one song, but the momentum created by 'Bodak Yellow' hasn't been lost.

By the end of her first song, ‘Get up 10' she's taken us through her crazy journey of a life - 'I was covered in dollars, now I'm drippin' in jewels', reminds us that Cardi's wealth stemmed from dollars that men would throw at her, while working as a stripper in New York. Her powerful move into a male-dominated scene is inspiring.

The rest of the album is a great mixture of all sorts of emotions, from dirty tracks like 'Bodak Yellow', which is creative in both lyrics and beat, to more emotional, honest songs like 'Thru Your Phone' - a soulful, creatively melodic tale of relationship woes. It mimics the beat perfectly, Cardi's voice dipping up and down with the flow. ‘Thru Your Phone' is definitely one of the catchier songs of the album, as well as ‘Ring,' and ‘Best Life.'

Since January 2018, rumours have been circulating that Cardi's long-term boyfriend, and now fiancé, Offset, cheated on her and ‘Be Careful' certainly hints that something may be going on: "Man, I thought you would've learned your lesson. "Bout liking pictures, not returnin' texts. I guess it's fine, man, I get the message. You still stutter after certain questions. You keep in contact with certain exes." This raw, honest feeling can be heard in her voice, making the song really powerful.

Cardi's words linger on the listener throughout with her well-paced rap. The tempo suits her voice, and this is especially seen in ‘She Bad' feat. YG, with it's repetitive, hypnotic trap chorus: "Gucci bag, Gucci bag, Gucci bag, Fendi bag / Prada bag, Louis bag, Gucci bag, Gucci bag / Birkin bag, she in the bag, she drip, she swag / Never mad, she glad, Louis bag, she in the bag."

We then hear a completely different type of sound on ‘I Like It,' which takes us back to Cardi's Afro-Caribbean roots - upbeat, full of major chords and clear vocals, this feels like a summer hit. The collaboration with Bad Bunny and J Balvin made this track even better - and the instrumentals here are carnival worthy.

Cardi, now loaded with star-power, is certainly confident about her features as seen on ‘Money Bag': "I take your man, and I won't give him back, I just walk into the booth and attack(...) Got lips like Angelina", showcasing her sex appeal while also displaying her lyrical bite.

Invasion of Privacy is a perfect blend of her image and her sound: artfully presented, with great quality songs, the album is put together and seamlessly finished, and it feels like Cardi B has really found her voice.

Cardi revealed that Lauryn Hill listened to the album before it was released: "Nobody could talk shit about this record to me because the sensei approved it." Regardless of who approved it or not, I can't criticise this album - an enthralling masterpiece, Cardi definitely has a distinct style - and she's never sounded more alive.

This is a rap Queen in full force.

Featured image: Facebook // Cardi B


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