Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Cardi B ft. Kehlani – Ring

If you listen to this song you’ll get a mysterious phone call from an unknown voice that says, “Seven days OKURRRRRR.”


Stephen Eisermann: This really should’ve been a Kehlani song with a Cardi feature, but that’s beside the point; there’s something very empowering about hearing someone lay down their defenses and pride to admit they want someone to reach out. Cardi sounds a bit out of place in the first verse, but comes around by the second verse with a softer, less jarring delivery. It doesn’t much matter, though, as vulnerability sounds great when played to this R&B beat, especially when Kehlani sings it. 

Nortey Dowuona: Woozy, heavy synths are pushed up by glassy bass drums while Kehlani sinks right through and Cardi appears in flashes before disappearing for good.

Alfred Soto: With the queer subtext as obvious as Kehlani’s commitment to genuine feeling, it’s all on Cardi’s shoulders to give the on-the-down-low romance its reality. Alienation doesn’t sit well with her; it’s like asking Bradley Cooper to play Lear. 

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Tiresome to listen to because of how restrictive and obvious the structure is. Kehlani delivers her chorus with enough passion, sure, but hearing it so often is akin to calling someone up and being forced to hear their entire answering machine message. Both Cardi B and Kehlani are relegated to specific roles that align with their methods of vocalizing, and while it all seems to correspond with their personalities, it has the unfortunate effect of making them into one-dimensional placeholders to provide the song some emotional depth. “Ring” may be the shortest song on Invasion of Privacy but it feels like its longest, and wastes the most of its runtime.

Will Rivitz: At best, Cardi B is a machine gun, savagely ripping apart the fabric of a beat with explosive, hair-trigger force; on “Ring,” unfortunately, her flow’s more Machine Gun Kelly.

Julian Axelrod: In the months leading up to Cardi’s debut, I worried it would be full of songs like “Ring”: murky, stilted trap-R&B collabs that plumbed her personal life for pathos at the expense of her natural charisma. Fortunately, Invasion of Privacy is a multifaceted wonder that improves upon that formula in every conceivable way. “Be Careful” is a more poignant exploration of heartbreak; “Thru Your Phone” gives Cardi more agency; “I Do” features a stronger hook from an R&B ingenue. Unfortunately, that means there’s not much reason to revisit “Ring.”

Reader average: [8] (2 votes)

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