(Featured Photo from Apple Music)

On June 16th, 2017 Cardi B released her now infamous song, “Bodak Yellow”. Almost 10 months later Cardi B has released her debut album “Invasion of Privacy”. During those 10 months the world rapidly was introduced to the spectacle that is Cardi B. Along with making almost every single person in America a fan of her’s, she became the first female rapper since Lauryn Hill to have the number one song on the Hot 100 with “Bodak Yellow” and became the first female rapper to land her first three entries in the Hot 100 in the top 10 with her features on “No Limit” and “MotorSport”. With all of that accomplished, the world was still left wondering whether or not Cardi B could deliver a whole album. The world can now stop wondering.

In the video above, radio personality and longtime friend of Cardi’s, Charlamagne tha God states that Cardi is the “perfect balance of ratchetness and righteousness”. This half-and-half mix of ratchetness and righteousness is represented throughout Cardi’s debut.

Pure Ratchetness

Before we get to Cardi’s righteous side, we have to talk about her ratchet side. Everyone knows the street anthem “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Carti” featuring 21 Savage, but Cardi throws in some new bangers to add to her ratchet collection on “Invasion of Privacy”.

“Money Bag” is the new repetitive, but addicting, club banger that you’ll probably start hearing every time you go out. With lines like “Wig be laid, waist snatched, ass fat, straight facts” and a simile of her fake boobs and Beyoncé’s twin babies in the chorus, this song is the epitome of ratchetness for the Bronx rapper. Not to be outdone, “She Bad” ramps up the ratchetness with Cardi’s own twerk anthem with the help of West coast rapper YG. If you wonder what makes a twerk anthem, it’s a fast paced beat with choruses that involve lyrics like this.

Dat ass, dat ass, dat ass, dat ass
Dat ass, dat ass, dat ass, dat ass
She bad, she bad, she bad, she bad
She bad, she bad, she bad, she bad
Gucci bag, Gucci bag, Gucci bag, Fendi bag
Prada bag, Louis bag, Gucci bag, Gucci bag

It may look pretty dumb like that, but it’s hard not to get up and dance with YG casually rapping “dat ass” over and over on the DJ Mustard produced beat.

She also highlights her love of jewelry in “Drip” with her fiancee’s group, Migos. Cardi B, Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff boast about drippin’ in ice throughout the song while all laying down some great verses. It’ll probably happen a lot in the future given Cardi and Offset’s marriage and child on the way, but her and the Migos really make some great songs together, as “Drip” will be her fourth single off the album. The sky is the limit for those four in regards to how many hits they can make out of rapping about jewelry, money, and pussy. That, my friends, is art.

The Righteous Bronx Queen

As Charlamagne said, she is equal parts ratchet and righteous. The ratchetness comes in abundance on the album, but Cardi B shows her vulnerable side as well.

Cardi recently revealed her much rumored pregancy while giving a rarely seen intimate and soft-spoken live performance on SNL. The song she performed, “Be Careful”, is her third single on the album and is probably her most revealing song yet. She acknowledges her desire for a happy marriage in the first line of the song, while also acknowledging her and her future husband’s pure ratchetness. The whole song may or may not be a reference to Offset’s alleged cheating, but whoever it’s about they obviously have to “Be Careful” with Cardi. For even though, she’s a sensitive woman who can wear her heart on her sleeve, she can also keep the “receipts” and fuck you up with them.

Cardi B also provides another type of anthem, this time not for twerking, but for womens’ constant paranoia of considering going through their man’s phone. The song is called “Thru Your Phone”, and it actually gives meaning to the choice of the album’s name in her first verse.

And you can tell your little bitch
I screenshotted all her naked pics
Oh, you wanna send nudes to my man?
Wake up and see your boobs on the ‘Gram?
Lil’ bitch, I cannot stand you, right hand to Jesus
I might just cut all the tongues out your sneakers
Smash your TV from Best Buy
You gon’ turn me into into Left Eye
I don’t wanna hear ’bout invasion of privacy
I had a feeling, it turns out you lie to me
I’m holdin’ back everything that’s inside of me
How you all fuckin’ with bitches that follow me?

Cardi B later describes a feeling that many women have felt in this age of smart phones, with the line “This shit is eatin’ me, you sleepin’ peacefully.” The line is a perfect representation of the song’s subject matter, as it’s never fun to be in a relationship and have that feeling of paranoia with the other’s phone. Finding out the paranoia is valid, and well, you might want to do some certain things to that significant other.

I’ma make a bowl of cereal with a teaspoon of bleach
Serve it to you like, “Here you go, nigga, bon appétit”

The Perfect Balance…

Although some songs belong on one side of the ratchet/righteous divide, some fall perfectly in the middle. “Best Life” featuring Chance the Rapper happens to be one of those songs. This song seemed perfectly made for a Chance the Rapper chorus, as it is a very cheerful song. Cardi B is gloating throughout the song, reminiscing on how hard she worked for this life while also talking about how fun it is to see people hating below you while you’re on top. Because even though it’s nice to look back on the long grind of getting to the top and being modest, it’s more fun to get to the top and say “fuck you” to whoever doubted you, and may still be doubting you.

My favorite song on the album, “I Do” featuring Top Dawg Entertainment goddess SZA, is another example of the overlap of ratchetness and righteousness. Cardi and SZA talk about how they’re strong and successful women and they can do whatever they like. Cardi puts it best, saying…

Look, broke hoes do what they can
Good girls do what they told
Bad bitches do what they want

If that’s not poetry, I don’t know what is.

On top of all the ratchetness and righteousness, Cardi B is just a damn good New York rapper. You can hear the New York in her voice and her skills as a rapper especially in the songs “Bickenhead” and “Get Up 10”. Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” off the “Dreams and Nightmares” album comes to mind when I heard “Get Up 10”. The song was the first off the album, and it served as Meek Mill’s placement as one of the better rappers in the game. “Get Up 10” was Cardi’s opening statement, in the debut album that is a sign of her arrival into the game, where she will continue to drop albums of ratchetness and righteousness for years to come.

Overall I give “Invasion of Privacy” 7.4 “OKURRRRRRR”s out of 10.

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