Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Cardi B – Money

In which it turns out that it IS all about the cha-ching cha-ching, ba-bling ba-bling…


Tobi Tella: Cardi B’s incredible rise to superstardom was extremely quick, so it makes sense that it also didn’t take long for her to start releasing throwaway singles. “Money” has a fine beat and a fun chorus, but it’s hard to connect with because it feels like more of the same, which is troubling considering she only has one album. She can still make a questionable punchline work through pure charisma (“Bitch I will black on your ass/Wakanda Forever!”) but to be honest, it’s getting a little old.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: This is exactly the kind of song I expected Cardi B to be making after “Bodak Yellow” broke big last year. I was wrong then, but the arc of the pop universe is long and bends towards lazy singles.

Andy Hutchins: First: Producer J. White — whose fuller J. White Did It name is an obvious rip of Mike Will Made It’s full nom de boards — might need some of the cheese Cardi craves for her egg to stave off the lawsuits from the folks who produced 2 Chainz’s “Watch Out” and OG Maco’s “U Guessed It,” because only a skittering Lex Luger-era snare roll truly distinguishes it from those productions. But the greater failure of “Money” is that this is a Cardi doing more sneering than smirking rather than deftly balancing the two: The “WAKANDA FOREVER” punchline is a hilarious callback to the halcyon days of Black Panther being in theaters, but the jokes generally aren’t as funny as her best material. “Money” is a competent but largely unnecessary song, and seems quite likely to be Atlantic’s test balloon for re-saturating the airwaves with an artist who has already had five top-30 singles of her own in the last 18 months and has featured on five more top-15 songs in the same time. “Money” is already a top-15 hit in its own right, so, in a sense, Cardi can hold her own against titans of pop like Drake — but if she has to sound this tired while doing it, I’m all for her standing apart from Drake by spending as much time with Kulture as she wants before hitting the booth again in earnest.

Nortey Dowuona: Low, sinking bass drums drop, hop out the grave then swing as Cardi spars with it, ducking, wearing and stinging as the piano puts up her dukes, keeping her on her toes.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The production isn’t striking enough to help Cardi exert the power of her imperialistic reign over the listener, so her rapping sounds strained and bored by the end of the third verse. While references to her daughter and Offset make “Money” more personal, her personality isn’t what’s really driving the song. Without that, the result is little more than generic bravado.

Julian Axelrod: When your personality is as big as Cardi’s, a complex beat or elaborate concept is just unnecessary baggage. So I appreciate the simplicity of this track: a few piano notes, some frantic hi-hats, a disembodied “Money, ho!” and a single-minded devotion to the bag. It gives Cardi ample space to spread out and talk her shit. Sometimes I forget how inventive a writer she can be; even on a straightforward cash anthem, she’ll drop a line like “All my pajamas is leather.” If this is the first taste of her new album, it’s not paving any new ground. (This could easily be a bonus track on the inevitable Invasion of Privacy Deluxe reissue.) But if you ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Hannah Jocelyn: “Get Up 10” was Cardi doing “Dreams & Nightmares,” “Thru Your Phone” was Cardi out-Nicki-ing Nicki’s Roman persona, and this is Cardi’s take on “Humble.” She once again brings her personality, but compared to those other songs on Invasion of Privacy this isn’t as fleshed out, which is exactly what made that album so good. “Money” is more in line with what doubters thought that album would sound like, which means: some neat ideas, but rushed and not nearly as quotable as her best songs can be.

Juan F. Carruyo: Cardi’s insistence of documenting in-song her obsession with a never-ending pursuit of wealth is a well worn trope by now, so much that it’s conceptual but she never re-contextualizes the cliches she declaims or even offer some kind of introspection about how it feels to finally be on the other side. It’s mere boasting, and she does boast well. But I get no pleasure from this. 

Alfred Soto: Like Cary Grant in Houseboat or Father Goose, Cardi in “Money” offers the pleasure of a born performer basking in the audience’s pleasure in a well-honed star persona. No one remembers Father Goose either.

Reader average: [10] (2 votes)

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