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From stripper to savage: Cardi B brings the party on new album ‘Invasion of Privacy’

Collegian Reviews (Illustration by Caleb Carpenter | Collegian)

Cardi B is a badass with a big mouth and a big ego, and she lets you know on her debut studio album “Invasion of Privacy.”

While people watched as her single “Bodak Yellow” rose to the top of the charts, many wondered if Cardi B was a one-hit wonder or if this was just the beginning of a successful career. On closing track “I Do,” Cardi vindicates her status as the princess of rap by saying, “They said by now that I’ll be finished, hard to tell. My little 15 minutes lasting long as hell.” And certainly, this statement proves itself to be true across the 13 tracks as she adds new humor, shock value and sonic textures to rap. 

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As a social media starlet, Cardi knows how to work a crowd. Her no filter attitude translates remarkably well into songs like “Bickenhead” and “She Bad” where her brazen lyrics are both jaw-dropping and hilarious. 

On “She Bad,” Cardi turns into the mistress of temptation at church when she spits, “Write a verse while I twerk. I wear off-white at church. Probably make the preacher sweat. Read the Bible. Jesus wept.” She doesn’t stop there. Over the throbbing electronics of “Bickenhead,” she gives the ladies a list of places they can pop their hoo-ha: in the car, on the stove, in Miami and, you guessed it, in church. 

Is “Invasion of Privacy” sexual? Yes. But, Cardi also expresses her vulnerability on this album, which is refreshing to hear in a genre crowded with the same old concoction of booze, drugs and one night stands.

With “Be Careful,” the MC expresses her dissatisfaction with the shady behavior of her lover over an understated production. The softness of its kooky train horn beat draws you in so you’re focused on Cardi and her words. “Be careful with me. Do you know what you doin’? Whose feelings that you’re hurtin’ and bruisin’? You gonna gain the whole world. But is it worth the girl that you’re losin’,” sings Cardi. And, yes, she actually sings the chorus. Even though her singing isn’t the best, the way she holds your attention is commendable in its own right. 

“Invasion of Privacy,” however, is not perfect. There are a handful of duds like the generic “Best Life,” featuring Chance the Rapper and the sleepy “Thru Your Phone,” but what the rapper loses with fillers she gains back in sonic experimentation. What makes this album such a success is the risks taken in its sonic pallet, giving listeners new sounds, textures and song structures to fall in love with. A prime example is the buzzing “Bartier Cardi” structured with a lonely piano blended with the peculiar droning of an undefinable instrument.

Should you listen to it?: Yes 

In all, “Invasion of Privacy” works. Despite its imperfections, this record will solidify Cardi B’s place in the music industry. Instead of being formulaic, she takes chances with her music lyrically and musically. These risks show the world that she’s not a one-hit wonder. Cardi B is an innovator and boundary breaker who’s determined to create the mainstream rather than just swim in it. 

Collegian arts and culture reporter Evan Vicchy can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @evanNOTkevin7. 

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