Monday, July 31st, 2017

Cardi B – Bodak Yellow

New York’s next great hope…


Anaïs Escobar Mathers: I am here for this. Cardi B is loud and she fills every word she raps with an infectious energy. This is exactly what I want to listen to in the morning, on my commute, before a meeting at work, you name it. Cardi’s rapping about how she got where she’s at and she’s not playing: “I’m a boss, you a worker, bitch, I make bloody moves.” We’ve heard this kind of thing before but Cardi hits every word hard as hell. The beat here almost sounds a little bit like Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” but with the confidence only a woman can have, having to work ten times as hard as any man to get somewhere.

Alfred Soto: Taking what sounds like the organ peal from the outro to Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You,” Belcalis Almanzar screws with a certain rapper’s moniker and takes the money (I hope) and goes. Attitude she’s got, and her mixtape’s solid. She needs rhymes better than OK.

Micha Cavaseno: The whirlwind of ex-stripper turned media personality Cardi B, a.k.a. the greatest living human being to emerge from the Bronx since French Montana, has become one of the most bemusing stories of 2017 as her once seemingly larkish rap career now upturns a massive hit. “Bodak Yellow” is impressively functional and timely for a rap single from a relatively new and untested New Yorker. It’s also spending a lot of its time (by Cardi’s admission) mirroring the starker and more adept “No Flockin” by Kodak Black. While I could acknowledge that the trade off of the less instantaneously skilled and more charming Northerner for the promising younger talent who can’t stop acting belligerently vile should be an upgrade in many extents, “Bodak” feels like a run-through of rap cliches without much spice. Red Louboutins, boss moves, wild sex, broke haters… someone like Cardi should be able to make a song so basic feel a lot more lively, but she instead sounds tedious.

Thomas Inskeep: Okay, okay, yes, Cardi B, you can be as hard as the guys, we get it. Next time, though, can you make a more interesting song? 

Jonathan Bradley: Cardi colors outside Kodak’s “No Flockin” skeleton; the New York arrogance of her bars lights up the nighttime chill of the beat brighter than those Louboutins. Her flow is fine, but it’s that hook that gives this staying power: the luxuriant violence of her designer brags balances street affiliation with less refined savagery in a way that’s not subtle — “I got bloody moves” is barely double entendre — but is effective. It’s doubly so in a rap landscape dominated, from Thugga to Migos to trap to drill, by wooze and weft: Cardi stands out by standing out. 

Crystal Leww: Cardi B is not a good rapper, and any criticism of her music will undoubtedly try to hit at her weakness in the “technical” department. But technical skills have always been overrated in music anyway. You know what is exciting? I went to a small music night in New York a couple of weeks ago, and the DJ dropped “Bodak Yellow.” Before Cardi’s rap even cut in, there was a roar from the women in the crowd. The DJ ran it back twice because of technical difficulties and even when the music cut out from time to time, there were still people rapping along, continuing as though the song was going. There are a lot of videos on the internet of someone cutting out the music on ‘”Bodak Yellow,” and the crowd still going. This is a monster of a song, especially for the girls, and watching it unfold in public spaces is unbelievable, much more interesting than any technical rapper in 2017.

Austin Brown: Alright, I’m on board for Cardi B as charismatic hip-hop personality and potentially great artist. Her grasp on the Kodak Black flow in “Bodak Yellow” is undeniable, and as a bonus, it lets Kodak’s artistic innovations flow without giving an abuser any cash. That said, to seal the deal I’m gonna need to hear something with a little more her in it — this reminds me of one of the mixtape stunts Lil Wayne would’ve pulled in his imperial period, but without the context of his indelible original material from that period.

Andy Hutchins: It figures that a former New York stripper would know exactly what sort of imperial beat and irrepressible boasting mix and mingle to sound incredible on a strip-club single that could still be credibly called thoro, right? Cardi B’s greatest asset as a rapper is her self-proclaimed “thick-ass” Bronx-by-Washington Heights accent, which stretches half of her vowels to their breaking point — “Caaardi B,” “bloooody shoes,” “fuuuck wi’ choo” — but her “Bodak Yellow” delivery recalls both Nicki in general and (obviously) Kodak in particular, making her sound familiar despite those distinctive As, Os, and Us, and the massive hook here infectious and anthemic. The flow-tracing is a feature, not a bug, of Cardi’s ascent, but it also keeps her from going off the rails — and stood beside her closest comparison — Australia’s most famous female rapper — Cardi’s both a) settling into a far more interesting grooves and b) uh, actually of the culture?

Joshua Minsoo Kim: “Bodak Yellow” reminds me a whole lot of trying my first Roja Dove fragrance. It was Fetish Pour Homme, a massive explosion of rich leather, pungent castoreum, and sweet amber that’s equal parts opulent and caustic. A single spray was enough to catch the attention of every person in a large room, and Cardi B commands just as much here. There’s a subtle glistening sound that occasionally appears and it feels apt: she’s rich, yes, but she’s primarily interested in overwhelming you with her immense presence. Alas, Fetish Pour Homme is essentially a more intense take on Puredistance’s M, and “Bodak Yellow,” while very good, is also extremely familiar (and would remain as such even without the “No Flockin” flow). Still, I’m moved by the autobiographical hook (“I don’t dance now, I make money moves”) and how the hypnotic synth line lulls you in so Cardi can smack you upside the head.

Reader average: [7.6] (10 votes)

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7 Responses to “Cardi B – Bodak Yellow”

  1. ok but review the new Romeo Santos too tho

  2. Coming very soon!

  3. god damn this song rocks

  4. #1 AIRHORN

  5. Y’all better have a Cardi B special lined up for Monday. It’s the best way to bring in the new year.

  6. ^^^

  7. @James patience will bring you great rewards ;)