The Chopping Block: Cardi B's 'Invasion Of Privacy' deserves public praise

[The Chopping Block] Cardi B’s ‘Invasion Of Privacy’ is well produced and deserves the praise

In editorial, the chopping block by Darren GoodenLeave a Comment

Welcome to [istandard] and welcome to [The Chopping Block], where we respond and react to music from the creator point of view. In the tradition of our classic Track-By-Track series, we get into the beats, bpms, mix, arrangement, penmanship, vocal production, panning, low-passing, mixing, mastering and more. Respect the creators!

It's Cardi B season and the Bardi Gang is ready to go off all summer long. Invasion Of Privacy marks the debut studio release for the Bronx rapper under Atlantic Recording Corporation.

What's most alarming is the difficulty we have had finding the producer information. Let's be honest. If the owners of [istandard] producers can't get me a clear read on who is writing the music on one of the biggest commercial releases of the year early on, we have a problem. Check out our Cardi B “Invasion of Privacy” Producer Credits article as Ciz puts in overtime to find out who made all these fire beats.

1. "Get Up 10"

[Prod. DJ SwanQo, Sean Allen]

Cardi comes out bar heavy in the intro. Besides the sample from Meek Mill's "Dreams and Nightmares" intro, it's also very similar (Shout to The Beat Bully) because of the vocal arrangement of the composition. She comes out with hardcore raps over the piano-laden instrumental which transitions into a banger with pounding 808 drums, teeming with southern trap hi-hats and snare rolls. Engineers threw in the triangle low pass filter for good measure.

The 808 work is dope. The most notable part is the systematic arrangement. The hi-hats create a timing and rhythm for her to ride on and instead of a bouncing quality, they sound like they're rolling. It feels like a forward motion as they duck in and out giving room for the kick drums to punch through.

2. "Drip"

[Prod. Cassius Jay, Nonstop Da Hitman]

That electric flute sound is cool. Normally, I would say "no, give me a natural sample for that," but it fits with the rest of the electric sounds around it. That's a wise choice production-wise.

The kick triplet is a good break in the kick pattern. If you listen closely, there's that classic perc sound. You know exactly which one I'm talking about. I mention it because they were smart to keep it at a low perceived level. It's good to add in little stabs and sounds to add "texture" to your beat. It fills in space without taking up too much while also adding rhythm.

3. "Bickenhead"

[Prod. Ayo, Keyz, and NES]

First, we want to give a shout out to [istandard] alumni, Ayo. Congrats on this placement!

If we get a lot of samples on this album, I won't be mad. That mixed with the bangers and bops Cardi B is sure to deliver is a recipe for success. Cardi pays homage to Project Pat and La Chat's "Chickenhead" and she does it with style. The bounce of the drums is there. We can hear the sampled sounds come through on the hook as she also interpolates with her own spin on it.

4. "Bodak Yellow"

[Prod. J. White]

We revisit an early favorite with "Bodak Yellow." As soon as I press play, I can already imagine droves of women stunting on the dance floor. It's magical.

Every time I listen to this song I remember people trying to tell me that the composition is atypical compared to standard "radio" records. I also remembered that they're wrong. It has an intro and from there it's in "ababa" format with "a" being the chorus and "b" being a verse. I'm not sure what those listeners were looking for. Maybe they're thrown off by it being more drum-heavy in the verses than the hook.

5. "Be Careful" 

[Prod. Boi-1da, Frank Dukes, Vinylz]

I love the simplicity of this song. Seems stripped down production-wise. It's not overly crisp (if that makes sense). There is a light vocal sample, what might be low passed keys, and the minimal drums give Cardi room on the track to rap.

I'm back and forth on having her sing the hook, but she pulls it off. I think it's helpful because the song's subject matter is introspective.  It supports her "telling her story."

6. "Best Life" ft. Chance the Rapper

[Prod. Stwo, DJ Dahi, BadBadNotGood]

Great title because that's exactly what Cardi is doing right now. That vocal sample is everything. It's the perfect texture to add to this beat. It sounds well chopped and reversed. Whatever pitching and added filters used did the job. They sit in the pocket well with the keys/synth sound.

You can imagine that the sounds are having their own conversation as they play off of each other. The snare choice is good as it's a minimal woodwork sound. It doesn't take up a lot of room in the mix. Cardi and Chance have tons of room for their vocals to flex. Great job!

7. "I Like It" ft. Bad Bunny & J Balvin

[Prod. J. White, Craig & Tainy, Invincible]

Shout out to Pete Rodriguez! His song "I Like It Like That" is a true classic. This beat knocks. This song is a winner.

Moving in and out of the original sample's flavor into heavy Hip-Hop trap drums is sending me! Bad Bunny and J Balvin are major players in the Latin scene who cross over with ease. I repeat, THIS SONG IS A WINNER! Atlantic/Warner needs to queue this one up as a single. I can't wait for a music video.

8. "Ring" ft. Kehlani

[Prod. Vinylz, Twice as Nice, Mike Dean]

Mike Dean is an OG, so I'm always ready to press play on anything he's attached to. Kehlani is dope as usual.

Am I the only that hears a "Chris Brown" quality in her vocals? She is excellent. Whoever produced/engineered vocals for this track deserves extra mention for their work. Kehlani's voice is crisp. It's not overly produced to where it's annoying, but it's just enough engineer work to accentuate her skills.

I don't know how this record came together. I don't know how many hands it has passed through. What I do know is that it's an excellent record and tons of artists would be blessed to have it. I can hear different artists performing it. Cardi and Lani create a "fire and ice" duality that melts together as one. In my opinion, it has a lot of replay value. They kept the runtime under 3 minutes so it's "short and sweet." I want to hear it over and over.

9. "Money Bag"

[Prod. J. White, Cashmere Cat, HotBoyz]

Ooh, that distorted synth has me ready for some gritty, ignorant carrying on. (I was right.) That 808 came in with something to prove. Cardi's bars and delivery match the mood of the sonics. This is a good transition from "Ring."

10. "Bartier Cardi" ft. 21  Savage

[Prod. 30 Roc, Cheeze Beatz]"A lot of rappers and artists don’t understand that it's really about the bounce that will make your fans go for it," says 30 Roc. He's right because that bounce and rhythm had me hooked the moment I first pressed play. This song is a good example of how using minimal, well-engineered instruments and an artist who can execute, can create a hit.

11. "She Bad" ft. YG

[Prod. DJ Mustard, Official]

I like that lead sound. It's like a pool of low-passed, half-speed synths and I'm swimming in it. Okay, look at DJ Mustard dabbling in the 160 bpm range. Let uptempo twerk season commence!

12. "Thru Your Phone"

[Prod. Benny Blanco, Andrew Watt, Bell]

Cardi B catches a wave when she turns on the "woman scorned" raps. Ali Tamposi on the hook is smooth. It's weird how they have a writer performing a whole hook but don't just list them as a featured artist. Maybe it's some contractual/back-end business reasoning.

13. "I Do" ft. SZA

[Prod. Murda Beatz, Cubeatz]

Does Cubeatz have a tag? If so, I've never heard it. They have at least one placement on every rap album I've heard recently. Murda Beatz is usually good for a banger. I like the kick and 808 combination. It delivers this thud sound. It's so dirty and gritty in a trap sense. That lingering pluck and key lead was a great start to this song. It all makes me want to make a screw face, but SZA's beautiful voice comes in and makes my heart feel warm. 

If the drums on this album don't make you want to go look up engineering tutorials on YouTube, then you don't like music. The producers and engineers definitely did there thing and deserve so much credit for their work. It's crazy to me that as I write this, all the credits have not been updated on Spotify. We live in a digital age and I should be able to shout producers/engineers out on Twitter at the same time that I listen to the album.

I'm really impressed with the songwriting on a lot of the songs. the production fits the moods and the content very well. I move on from that point to say that a lot of these songs are quality records that could stand alone as singles.

Cardi B is a star. She's undeniable. Her presence is electric and she has the "it" factor that escapes many acts. Her uptick in media/press coverage is timely and expected from a talent like her.

I think we'll be enjoying this album for a while because I believe that many of the songs can fit into different playlists and they have a high potential for licensing opportunities.

She currently has a winning formula of dropping high energy bangers/anthems (Bodak Yellow, "Bartier Cardi") while sneaking in a softer record ("Be Careful") to showcase the versatility and build anticipation. I do keep in mind that this was her debut. Anticipation will change over the life cycle of her career. However, if she maintains her energy and keeps enlisting a quality group of supporting members behind the scenes, she should be able to recreate the magic of 'Invasion of Privacy' for years to come.