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The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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Cardi B tells her unconventional rags to riches story on ‘Invasion of Privacy’

Special to The Prospector
Special to The Prospector

From growing up in poverty in the Bronx, to stripping in Manhattan, to leaving an abusive relationship, to reality TV, to becoming a social media influencer, to having the hottest hit of the summer and performing on SNL—like her or not, Cardi B has hit the big time and is here to stay.

The 25-year-old bilingual rapper Belcalis Almanzar, known across the globe professionally as Cardi B, just released her debut album, “Invasion of Privacy,” on April 6. The album follows her mixtapes “Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1” and “Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 2.”

In September 2017, Cardi B became the first female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998, with her hit “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves).” Only three other female rappers have ever hit No. 1 on the charts, but unlike Lauryn and Cardi, they didn’t do it alone.

Since then Cardi B has collaborated on G-Eazy’s “No Limit,” Migos’ “MotorSport,” Puerto Rican sensation Ozuna’s “La Modelo” and Bruno Mars’ “Finesse.”

Now, stars Migos, Chance The Rapper, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Kehlani, 21 Savage, YG and SZA have jumped on the Cardi craze—each having features on the album.

Cardi gets nostalgic in her opening track “Get Up 10.” She jumps around between her past, working as a stripper, and her newfound success in the rap game. “I was covered in dollars, now I’m drippin’ in jewels,” she raps.

It’s no secret that Cardi is always sporting clothes and jewelry that shines and sparkles, especially her eight-carat engagement ring from her fiancé and Migos member, Offset. She proves she can drop bars just like her fiancé with lyrics like, “I don’t hang with these bitches cause these bitches be corny, and I got enough bras, y’all ain’t gotta support me.”

Aside from calling out her haters, Cardi also mentions the success she’s had in her family. “I went from rag to riches, went from WIC to lit. Only person in my fam to see six figures.” Growing up in the Bronx, New York City, Cardi’s Afro-Trinidadian mother was a cashier and her Dominican father was a cab driver. She is the only member of her family to make more than $100,000 in a year.

Migos’ classic beat and ad-libs come in on track two with “Drip. (feat. Migos).” “Drip or drippin” is said approximately 120 times throughout the song to illustrate just how stacked with diamonds Cardi and Offset are.

Although it’s speculated “dripping” could simply mean having so much success and confidence, it’s evident to anyone who looks their way. The instrumental for the song had previously been used for Future, Young Thug and Quavo’s “Upscale,” however it will never match the success of “Drip.”

The album then transitions into the less memorable track “Bickenhead.” The term bickenhead is Cardi’s slang for already-used slang word “chickenhead.” The song alludes to Project Pat’s “Chickenhead,” which is a term that is slang for a female who will perform oral sex on anyone or a female who is just airheaded.

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This brings the album into the song that’s made her who she is today, “Bodak Yellow.” This was the Cardi’s first release with Atlantic Records since signing to the label in 2017. Cardi was paying tribute to Kodak Black’s 2014 hit “No Flockin’.” She is the definition of extra in “Bodak Yellow’s”half a billion-viewed music video, where she rides a camel through Dubai showing off her red bottoms aka “bloody shoes.”

The song is also possibly the highest selling trap-based song of all time. Her voice is essentially an instrument in its own, working as a bass intertwined with some 808s and simple synth beats, which all work together to the track’s immense success.

On the fifth track, Cardi somehow transitions from one of the cockiest/self assured songs by a female artist of this generation into a song that shows her vulnerable side on “Be Careful.” This track reveals how she felt when rumors surfaced Offset was cheating on her. “Man, I thought you would’ve learned your lesson ‘bout likin’ pictures, not returnin’ texts, I guess it’s fine, man, I get the message,” she says before hinting that she had opportunities to cheat as well, but did not jump on an opportunity for revenge.

Overall the song serves as a warning to Offset that she’s not afraid to leave him. Cardi has been open about the cheating in the past even quoting Beyoncé’s “Don’t Hurt Yourself” lyrics, “you do that shit again, you gon’ lose your wife” at one of her concerts in the fall.

A suiting feature comes in from the usually humble Chance The Rapper as he chants “I’m livin’ my best life” with Cardi on “Best Life,” where the two are unapologetically proud of their hard-earned success. With Cardi being one of the few female rappers to see the type of fame she’s reached, she addresses being pitted against artists like Nicki Minaj by rapping, “Ain’t no more beefin’, I’m just keepin’ to myself. I’m my own competition, I’m competin’ with myself.” The track is overall great for pumping up your self-confidence and just jamming in the car.

The chart-climbing banger “I like It” features Latin sensations Bad Bunny and J Balvin. The track is an unlikely fusion of Cardi’s pounding lyrics over Latin horns and a trap-like flow that Bunny and Balvin often use on their tracks as well. It’s the one Spanish track on the album. This song is a guaranteed El Paso nightlife go-to with Bunny’s and Balvin’s success on the border.

One of the biggest female R&B artists in the game, Kehlani, is featured on “Ring.” On this smooth-trap track, Kehlani and Cardi express being with men who used to always want to hit them up and now take them for granted, “You don’t hit my line no more, oh, oh. You don’t make it ring, ring, ring, ring.”

But Cardi doesn’t care if you’re not calling anymore because on the next track she remembers she’s making money. On the track “Money Bag” she name-drops her own luxurious vehicles: her Mercedes MayBach and Bentley truck. The lyrics, “while you hoes were sleepin’ on me, I made 40 bands by 4 p.m., they be taking shots, miss-miss, X and O, kiss-kiss,” allude to backlash she received as “Bodak Yellow” went to the top of the charts.

“Bartier Cardi” was her second biggest release since “Bodak Yellow.” Cardi and 21 Savage rap about their lavish lifestyles and for the first time Cardi talks about her love for Offset. The track has remained on the Billboard charts for 14 weeks and it does not look like it’s moving anytime soon.

“She Bad” is a quick fun track from YG and Cardi, with DJ Mustard on the beat. Cardi touches on different topics in this track such as why people are drawn to her. She is extremely transparent with her fans on social media. In this track she raps, “Write a verse while I twerk, I wear Off-White at church,” addressing that she’s been a stripper, but it doesn’t mean she has not moved past it and found her way.

She’s tweeted, “People keep posting the nude videos of me like if I wasn’t a stripper before…. anyways I know I know I got a nice body right.” Cardi proves that in the harsh TMZ world celebrities live in today, she’s not afraid.

The next to last song, “Thru Your Phone” is also about Offset’s infidelity. Fans get a glimpse of what it’s like to hear Cardi sing on this track as she chimes the chorus, “I went through your phone last night. Saw some things I didn’t like. I went through your phone last night. It’s killin’ me, killin’ me, killin’ me, oh.” The smooth beats parallel well with her pounding bars on this track.

Cardi does not hold back on her last hit on the album with the rising success that is SZA. On Instagram, SZA said she was honored to “talk shit” on the track with Cardi. “My littler 15 minutes lasting long as hell, huh?” Cardi raps. She encourages her female fans to step out of their shell and fulfill their dreams through her brash lyrics, “good girls do what they told, bad bitches do what they want.”

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Although her pregnancy was already highly speculated upon, on Saturday Night Live this week, Cardi revealed her baby bump to the world for the first time. Then on Sunday, the very pregnant Cardi tweeted, “I started winning when the whole world was doubting on me! Think imma lose with my little baby counting on me?” TMZ reports she is due in July. 

I don’t think anyone can doubt Cardi at this point. She is unstoppable.

With two Coachella weekends, Broccoli City Festival, three JMBLYA’s in Houston, Dallas and Austin, and her highly anticipated stop here in El Paso for Neon Desert quickly approaching, let’s hope EP is still able to party with Cardi.

Overall the album gives those unfamiliar of the star a sense of what an empowered female rapper looks like and fans a deeper insight into her past.

I would give the album 3.5 out of 5 stars.

About the Contributors
Michaela Román, Editor-in-Chief
Michaela is a Senior Digital Media Production major at The University of Texas at El Paso. As the Editor-in-Chief, and former Photo Editor of The Prospector, she has learned to stay organized, manage a staff of writers and photographers, meet deadlines, cover events and network with others. She also has freelance experience and a personal photography business. Michaela aspires to work as an editor for a large media outlet and one day go to graduate school to teach photojournalism.
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Cardi B tells her unconventional rags to riches story on ‘Invasion of Privacy’