Cardi B’s Invasion Of Privacy
Perhaps the album’s title was an intentional double entendre, one meant to signal what listeners would be subjected to for the next 48 minutes and 13 seconds of run time.
Except, the only privacy (or private parts for that matter) being invaded on Cardi B’s new album that dropped last Friday is her own.
Among many other things, we get to hear how tight she is, how wet she gets, and how she put it on future-husband Offset of the rap trio Migos… and hooked him.
Rawness aside, preliminary figures show that the album, which has been critically acclaimed in many circles, will début at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart this weekend (when the new chart is announced Sunday), with over 200K units sold, dethroning The Weeknd’s latest set, which debuted at the top this past week.
Like many of its more recent rap and trap predecessors, Invasion’s 13 tracks cover all the normal ground: menacing trap beats; male feature MCs; the against-all-odds, rags-to-riches (emphasis on the “riches”) stories; the requisite “don’t fuck with me you other hoes” attitude; all the important designer name drops,… oh, and those graphic details about her prowess and her privates.
Never has “pussy-popping” been so celebrated on a No. 1 album as it is on Invasion of Privacy, the collection that will make Cardi one of only a handful of female rappers to have a chart-topper (she joins Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown, Eve and Nicki Minaj). Minaj has the most (two), with the most recent happening six years ago.
But Cardi’s Invasion also delivers on several other fronts, which contributes to its appeal (and hers). Call it pussy-popping with some depth.
First, she’s self-effacing – something most other rappers, female or otherwise, just aren’t. Whether she’s reminding us about how bad her teeth used to be (both in the No. 1 leadoff single, “Bodak Yellow” and in new album track “Best Life”) or clueing us in on how fake her boobs are (in “Get Up 10”), or how dire her circumstances were before she became a reality TV and social media star, Cardi gives true meaning to “keeping it real.”
She’s also vulnerable, as displayed in the hip-hop street-love song (and current single) “Be Careful,” as well as tracks like “Ring” and “Thru Your Phone.”
In “Careful,” the protagonist issues a warning to her partner about bringing other women into the picture. The warning serves multiple purposes: first to alert him to what the mistress may do to him (“watch her, she might steal your chain”), and, secondly, to remind him of what he’s losing in the process (“my heart is a package with a fragile label on it”).
For all her braggadocio, who knew Cardi had these kinds of feelings?
Invasion also brings the humor, whether intentional or not. Tell me you didn’t laugh the first time you heard America’s new favorite femcee rap the lyrics “guap, guap get some chicken; guap, guap get some bread” over some hard trap beats on the album’s third track “Bickenhead.”
On close listen, that same song even channels some of the cadence of Dr. Seuss’ nursery rhyme book “Green Eggs and Ham” (look it up), as Cardi goes on a diatribe about her favorite subject: “pussy-popping.”
“Yeah, pop that pussy like you a’int popped that pussy in a while
Pop that pussy like poppin’ pussy is goin’ out of style
Pop that pussy while you work, pop that pussy up sat church
Pop that pussy on the pole, pop that pussy on the stove
Make that pussy slip and slide like you from the 305
Put your tongue out in the mirror, pop that pussy while you drive
Spread them asscheeks open, make that pussy crack a smile…”
(For the unenlightened, The Urban Dictionary carries about six different definitions of “pussy-popping” here.)
“Bickenhead” is the album’s funniest moment, but its best tracks are the underrated second single, “Bartier Cardi” (she is clearly the star there despite the appearance of featured act 21 Savage), “Be Careful,” “I Like It,” and another emotionally vulnerable track “Ring.”
Ironically, the album’s worst is “Drip,” a tune featuring fiancé Offset and his group Migos.
After a few listens, there are several takeaways from Invasion Of Privacy. The first is, in Cardi’s world, you’re either with her or against her. There doesn’t appear to be any middle ground.
Another is, she’s ratchet and she knows it. In fact, she embraces it. She came from humble, strip-club beginnings (which she hasn’t forgotten and won’t likely anytime soon) and is now starting to enjoy the spoils of her more recent celebrity success. To hell with all her haters for trying to spoil it for her.
She also has true rap flow. There aren’t many femcees (or emcees for that matter) that can carry a track like she does on songs like “Bartier Cardi” or “Money Bag.” It’s clear she put in work on this album (and is still working hard to promote it – witness her SNL performance last week with bun firmly planted in oven).
But she’s also flawed, vulnerable, naturally funny and real. Those things make her relatable and make the album very personal. And it’s those human traits that have endeared people to her and made her one of the most talked-about celebrities today.
And now, she has the No. 1 album in the country – only the sixth ever by a female emcee.
And that’s an accomplishment for which Cardi B (in all her ratchetness) at least deserves some respect.
See my exclusive list of all 177 of the rap albums to top the Billboard charts here.