Female rappers (if that’s still the socially accepted term to use) is part of the lexicon that built rap and hip hop in general. In both Canada and the United States, women were trailblazers, who have yet to, or are slowly starting to get their just due in terms of that acknowledgment presented. Look no further than the Netflix film, Roxanne Roxanne, which is a biopic of the Rapper of the same name. Those things are important in keeping women within the narrative of Hip Hop’s growth and further continuation as it moves forward. I grew up with Missy Elliott being one of my favourite artists, not just as a Rapper. Eve, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Ms. Jade, Da Brat, and Trina were staples into giving future women the green light to step to the boys and embrace the testosterone crazy genre, and throwing some estrogen in it.
The beauty of rap is the unconventional approach an artist takes to getting to where they’re at in their respective careers, and when it comes to the case of 25 year old Cardi B, Offset – you are the baby father. Alright that’s not what I meant. When you go from being a stripper, to a rapid fire speaking Dominican social media favourite, to creating the hood bitch anthem in Bodak Yellow, the story there in itself is fascinating. The most important fact to know about her ascension to the top is that she never ventured away from what worked for her, and that was straight up being herself. Whether it was embracing her past as being a stripper or being candid about political topics to the point where her Instagram posts make the news, she’s really one of the most transparent artists to come out in recent time, because the accessibility to her, from her fans’ perspective is very connected, and she’s really likeable. If you get past the fact that her voice sounds like Regina King doing her voice for Riley Freeman in The Boondocks, then it’s all good.
I didn’t know that Cardi B had an interest of being a rapper, and quite frankly, it’s not something that I would have been privy too anyways, because even if I had known that she was making music, I know I wouldn’t have been the target audience – it’s for the gyaldem, but maybe men could find things to relate to – because music is universal and it can speak to everyone’s life experiences to some degree. Bodak wasn’t necessarily the start, and although it’s an anthem for women, I’ll be damned if I didn’t admit that I wasn’t out here singing the first few bars, because why not? I know that men took time to come around to it, but if the track knocks, it knocks – yes? Yes. I didn’t listen to her mixtapes willingly, because I didn’t take her seriously as a rapper. I thought it was just a hobby that she happened to pick up to kill time since she wasn’t on Love & Hip Hop. I paid it no mind that she would have a legitimate shot to solidify her place in Rap, but that’s why I’m just on the outside looking in and she does what she does. I’m happy to have been convinced that she rightfully has a spot in the big leagues to do numbers for herself. So that all being said, I had no expectations for Invasion of Privacy at all. I wanted to dedicate myself to being more of a fan than a critic, because it’s less stressful that way, and I can find myself to enjoy things without having to explain why – because I do or I don’t – it’s not that complicated.
However, I didn’t expect to enjoy the album as much as I have been over the time that I’ve been listening to it. Having the album start off with Get Up 10, I just know that it’s a song that’s full of captions galore. Delancey Finney (co-host of Spit Sessions) said that this album makes him feel like a bad bitch, and that’s really the only explanation needed in the most humanly non-gender conforming way possible. The energy that is presented from start to finish flows so well, and there are quality bangers that will play out well in so many settings. My favourite song at this current moment, that I don’t really see changing, is Bickenhead, because shout out to Academy Award Winners 3 6 Mafia for being so far ahead of their time, that people are truly coming around to appreciating just what they’ve brought to the world of Hip Hop. The braggadocio, chest flaring lyrics that spew from Cardi’s bars are reminiscent of Trina letting us all know that she was the baddest bitch, and I truly hope that she gets her just due. She sacrificed herself to make songs with Silkk Da Shocker, and has 2 of the best verses spit by female emcees in Nann and Take It To Tha House (honourable mention: Shut Up).
“Mama couldn’t give it to me, had to get at Sue’s
Lord only knows how I got in those shoes
I was covered in dollars, now I’m drippin’ in jewels
A bitch play with my money? Might as well spit in my food
Bitches hated my guts, now they swear we was cool
Went from makin’ tuna sandwiches to makin’ the news
I started speakin’ my mind and tripled my views
Real bitch, only thing fake is the boobs”
What I appreciated the most about this album is that it’s Cardi in her same form, and she wasn’t afraid to let her insecurities and downfalls out there in display. There’s a great deal of self-awareness, that is just pumped with solid production. She Bad can go though, I’ll say all that. YG did nothing for me on the track, and it’s just there. I felt the same way about Bartier Cardi, but that grew on me, thanks to 21 Savage’s feature. The features were dope. Chance the Rapper has one of the best verses on the album, and one of the best verses he’s put out himself. Chance doesn’t really talk his shit and flex on folks, because he’s all about positive vibes and such (which is great), but sometimes you have to let people know that you have an IMDB page and credits on your favourite TV channels – but we’re talking about Chance right now.
“Reach like ‘Bron James, pep talk from Yoncé
‘Member my hands had ash like Pompeii
Now they hold cash, won’t peak like Dante”
Also, Kehlani is necessary for all things heartbreak material. Ring is one of the best songs on the album, as well as Be Careful (which for some reason gives me Biggie vibes – the flow, for the most part). And what needs to be appreciated about Cardi’s display of being vulnerable, openly distrusting at times, and insecure, it’s what a lot of women relate to, but not many artists can speak to their experiences. Hood girls have feelings too; their hardened exteriors were built up because of some drama to go down, and you get a sense of understanding of what a lot of women have gone through or go through currently. That is evidenced by the amount of love shown for the album all over the place, by women. Women need to win. I don’t want to call this era the #MeToo era, because there’s a slippery slope that I could enter, that being a male. But this is a big win for Cardi and for Black women alike. But, to see where Cardi came from, and to see her getting the admiration from music peers and prominent people in media, it’s well deserving.
Rapsody, Jean Grae, The Sorority (Canadian Content), Young M.A, Nicki Minaj, Noname, and Cardi B can all exist without having to pit one of them against the other. There’s enough for everyone to win, and women in Hip Hop should be respected more, since they’ve been the pinnacle of the genre’s growth and will always be there 10 years, 20 years, and 30 years from now. Cardi’s ceiling is endless, and we’ll certainly enjoy it for as long as it may run. Be sure to keep this in your rotation, because for those still experiencing the 6th month of winter, summer will come soon. Be patient. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review,
That’s My Word & It STiXX