In 2017, Cardi B had the song of the summer with “Bodak Yellow.” Every car had the GRAMMY-nominated single spilling into the street, the highway, and all up and down the shoreline. It was not just a regional hit, it was a national and international smash. The single took Cardi B’s slowly burgeoning career and skyrocketed her onto rap’s mainstage, whether or not she was ready for it.
Despite her appearances on Love & Hip Hop, and her two Gangsta Bitch Music mixtapes, Cardi B was not entirely ready for the level of fame she was about to reach. In the months between “Bodak Yellow” reaching number one on the Billboard charts and her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, Cardi bemoaned the weight of social media, feeling like a frequent and unwarranted target of hate. None of this, though, stopped her rise. Cardi B’s genuine personality, her making mistakes and overcoming them in public, and the sheer quality of her music made her a rap act fans were eager to rally behind.
Invasion of Privacy proved Cardi B was a mean rapper with range. In the context of an album, she was no longer confined to making banging and rowdy hits, and she took that chance to develop a string of deep cuts and anthems that represent a spectrum of human emotion. While her debut album is not her life story, as we’ve come to expect with most debuts, removing the weight of having to sum up her life in under an hour allowed Cardi to focus on her personality and let her charisma lead the record—and it did. From the heartfelt to the hysterical, Invasion of Privacy blasted Cardi B through the ranks and into the upper echelon of hip-hop stars.
The summer of 2017 was a Cardi B summer, and now that we have her riotous and emotionally engaging debut album, we have to wonder, will this be another Cardi B summer, and what would such a summer mean for Cardi B’s career?
She’s said it, the charts have said it, the reviews and blogs have said it, but to reiterate: another Cardi B summer is definitive proof that Cardi B is no one-hit-wonder. Her album’s potential to dominate the charts and the airwaves, the speakers and the basement parties, for yet another summer with hits like “I Like It” and “I Do,” and “Bickenhead,” and “Bartier Cardi,” and—you get the picture. Cardi B’s album enduring through the summer is, at this point, essentially inevitable. Not only did she produce an emotionally involved record, she delivered one of the most engaging and charismatic debut albums in recent memory.
With Invasion of Privacy surely taking over summer 2018, the album has a chance at a second, third, and fourth life. People who once doubted Cardi, who skipped out on the record, will have a much more difficult time avoiding her album when it dominates the season. This gives Cardi B the opportunity to net the scores of would-be fans that are letting their pride get in the way of enjoying good music.
If you’re already a Cardi B fan, a summer packed with Invasion of Privacy hits will only improve your relationship with the record. An album that can endure two seasons, that can slowly begin slotting itself into the nooks and crannies of your life, is an album that goes on to stay with you well beyond the curtailed shelf-life of music in the on-demand streaming era. When you bond with a record in the summer, it will be there for you in the winter as a vanguard of some of your best memories.
As we’ve seen Cardi struggle with the spotlight on social media, and as we’ve read about her insecurities with her music and accent in interviews, having her debut record endure a full summer will be the confidence boost she needs to keep injecting herself and her personality into music. Rap wants Cardi B, and Invasion of Privacy enduring as album of the summer will only amplify that truth.
Another Cardi B summer is inevitable and should be welcome. Cardi had every chance to fall flat on her face, to release a middling debut that cashed in on her hits and left potential fans with a sour taste in their mouths. Instead, she made good on her potential, did not dilute her personality, and went out of her comfort zone to deliver tracks like “Be Careful” and “Thru Your Phone,” that gave us a splash of vulnerability that was missing from her chart hits. She proved herself to be versatile and adaptable. Cardi B earned another summer in her name, and the lifespan of her debut album will be all the better for it.