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The Lowdown: After a meteoric rise in 2017 that shattered records, Cardi B bucked the trend of working her way through mixtapes by shrewdly following up those hits quickly with her debut album. Over the past nine months, she became a distinct powerhouse who cleared every hurdle that stood in her way. On Invasion of Privacy, she breezes past the challenge of a highly anticipated debut by making one of the most exciting rap albums in years.
The Good: Cardi’s ability to seamlessly blend into style she touches while simultaneously taking them over is on full display here. Her raw talent is undeniable, and her ear for picking samples is just as impressive, repurposing other tracks by Project Pat and Pete Rodriguez with her own spin and turning them into unstoppable juggernauts. Her cocksure attitude, endless quotability, and versatility as an artist to straddle genre lines and own everything she touches find the rapper consistently at the top of her game.
The Bad: The album’s only real missteps come when Cardi tries too hard to fit her outsized personality into a box on the generic pop-trap of songs like “Be Careful” and “Ring”. She explores a vulnerability not often expressed, but the issue is that the songs have a plug-and-play feel to them, where, apart from a few notable quips, they feel like they could have been written for anyone. The occasional blandness wouldn’t be an issue if there weren’t examples of her personality shining through so often throughout the record.
The Verdict: It’s not perfect, but the album is remarkably cohesive, the right length, and filled to the brim with songs that already feel like inevitable summer smashes. After making history, Cardi faced seemingly insurmountable hype and expectations for this album, and she brushed them off like they were nothing. She’s still finding her way, but in a way that maybe a handful of artists have accomplished this decade. It feels like she could do anything.
Essential Tracks: “Bickenhead”, “Drip”, “I Like It”, “Bartier Cardi”, and “Bodak Yellow”