“They gave a bitch two options: stripping or lose.” That’s how Cardi B‘s debut album Invasion of Privacy starts, and fuck us if she doesn’t take that life-gives-you-lemons statement and turns it into a cocktail bar.
There is no one with as much charm and charisma as Cardi B right now, that much is certain. Every generation has a female rap star to break through, and she is ours: savvy, no-bullshit, and armed to the teeth with some ridiculously addictive songs.
If anything lets her down it’s the completely unmemorable production. For someone as electric as Cardi B, beats like the one on Bickenhead are dull and give her very little to work with; luckily she’s not exactly the type of person who needs to blame her tools for a bad performance.
You see, the woman herself remains the star, overpowering even her beige backing to elevate the album to the next level. Her Chance The Rapper-featuring Best Life ought to go down as one of her best, but when she has fun on I Like it and Be Careful she feels invincible. On the former she displays a self-awareness that takes ownership of both her lifestyle and insults, the latter sees her dance around more flavourful beats for a fuck-you to fuckbois.
And the two moments she employs her fellow women are dynamite. Kehlani has never sounded better – or indeed a more perfect foil for anyone – than on Ring, and close I Do employs SZA and delivers the finest line of the year. You see, when Cardi B delivers the words “pussy so good I say my own name during sex”, you get what she’s about: she’s purely out here doing her thing and repping herself, whether that’s being sex-positive or a no-bullshit heroine. Either way, if the last year or so has been an invasion of privacy in the world of Cardi B, she’s throwing us one hell of a party to make us stay and love it as much as she clearly is.