"Invasion of Privacy" is the debut studio album by American rapper, Cardi B, released on April 6, 2018, through Atlantic Records. The album features guest appearances by Migos, Chance the Rapper, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Kehlani, 21 Savage, YG and SZA.
A magnificent debut that fuses vulnerability, sexual voraciousness, paranoia and party music shows the rapper is capable of far more than punchy put-downs
And there is far more to her than a Louboutin heel ground into a man’s chest. After four tracks of strutting self-confidence comes the vulnerable Be Careful, her husky plea that a cheating partner treats her better. Her usual anger, thrown off by pain, is modulated into need: “Tell me where your mind is, drop a pin, what’s the coordinates?” Thru Your Phone and Ring – the latter with a strong chorus from Kehlani – affectingly explore the contemporary romantic paranoia that comes from smartphones.
Then there’s I Like It, where she nods to her Latin heritage (her father is from the Dominican Republic) on a trap-salsa track with a penetrating bass wobble; and Best Life, whose laid-back beat invites self-reflection, and as Cardi raps about her triumph over adversity, there is something so keen and poignant about how badly she needs to tell her story. A brilliant guest turn by Chance the Rapper, adding his trademark blessing-counting energy, makes it a highlight.
In an age of slurred mumble-rap and sing-song delivery, there’s an old-school satisfaction in hearing someone deliver their bars with such, well, finesse. There’s even a touch of Biggie to the way she balances a thick local accent with absolute clarity and perfectly weighted metre, but her way of drawing out vowels before slamming them into teeth-kissing consonants is all her own. Cliches like “I did this on my own, I made this a lane” still work, meanwhile, because Cardi B actually has done it on her own and made her own lane. Thanks to her killer punchlines, emotional range and just being a total force of nature, she has absolutely earned her “real-life fairy tale, Binderella shit”.
Reviewed by Ben Beaumont-Thomas for theguardian.com.