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Cardi B is a two-time Grammy Award nominee, a five-time BET Hip Hop Award winner, and became the first female artist to have five simultaneous top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, which she accomplished back in January. And she hasn’t even put out an album yet.
But according to Cardi herself, that’s about to change very soon. While accepting the iHeartRadio Music Award for Best New Artist (she beat out Niall Horan, Khalid and her “La Modelo” collaborator Ozuna, among others), she casually announced that her long-awaited debut studio album will drop in April. If you want to watch Cardi B and all your other favourite artists accept their iHeartRadio Music Awards, you can check out the show in full here.
There’s a slight chance Cardi’s release date could be pushed back yet again, as the Bronx native previously insisted that she’d release an album in October, then January. If the April date is accurate, however, then it’s probably time to start breaking down everything we know about how the album will sound and—more importantly—who will be on it.
Ok, so it’s not exactly a stretch to assume that “Bartier Cardi” and the Grammy-nominated “Bodak Yellow” will both be on the new album. But if Cardi’s planning on releasing a traditional 12-track record (she rarely does anything traditional, so she could very well surprise us with a 15 or 20-track record), it’s good to know that there are only 10 or so spots left for new tunes.
Cardi B and Migos’ Offset are still engaged (despite some upsetting developments) which means that Offset, Migos, or both will probably feature on Cardi’s album at some point. Cardi has already collaborated with the likes of Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj, and Juicy J, so maybe she convinced one (or all) of these artists to pitch in on a couple tracks. Kehlani all but confirmed a forthcoming Cardi B collab in November. Cardi performed at OVO Fest last year, meaning that Drake could have popped in to the studio to record a verse or two. Remy Ma teased a Love & Hip Hop reunion last year. And while Cardi recently denied rumours surrounding a possible Beyoncé collaboration, she could be messing with us to try to keep the partnership a surprise.
Cardi B loves talking, tweeting, and rapping about her haters, and she confirmed as much when she spoke to Beats 1 Radio host Julie Adenuga in January. “I’m always gonna talk about them because I hate them,” Cardi admitted. “I hate y’all. I wish y’all catch something. … I’m not too cool to tell your fucking ass something.” Translation? Cardi B probably dedicated at least one or two tracks to those who continue to doubt her despite her meteoric rise to fame and uncanny ability to clap back at a moment’s notice.
Cardi also told Adenuga that she recorded a love song inspired by Offset. Again, she could cut the track from the album because of her and Offset’s somewhat tumultuous relationship, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. “I did a love song, and while I was doing the verse I just kept thinking about a couple of months back when me and him on really good terms,” Cardi explained. “And I was getting really pissed off and really emotional and I was like who cares? I got a ring!”
Cardi’s uploaded a handful of track previews to Twitter and Instagram over the past few months, though there’s no guarantee that any of those tracks will actually end up on the album. Nonetheless, expect the record to sound a little something like this:
Cardi B was on instagram Live and SON SHES COMING FOR YA NECK. Let the haters give you inspiration. pic.twitter.com/Z7kOCEcB0D
— Open the PHUCK UP (@_KingTony) September 27, 2017
It’s also likely that Cardi teamed up with both “Bartier Cardi” producer 30 Roc and “Bodak Yellow” producer JWhiteDidThat on multiple tracks—JWhite apparently put together the ‘Bodak Yellow” beat in just 15 minutes, and 30 Roc has also worked with Meek Mill, Lil Yachty, and “Bodak Yellow” inspiration Kodak Black.
Some fans incorrectly speculated that Cardi waited to drop her album so she could listen to what Nicki Minaj has cooked up. But the fact of the matter is that Cardi didn’t release an album because she wasn’t ready to release an album. “I have a lot of pressure on me. I have songs stashed up,” she tweeted in November. “I just don’t think they qualified for my album.”
Two months before writing that tweet, Cardi B also stopped by New York radio show The Breakfast Club and admitted that the pressure to live up to the success of “Bodak Yellow” had been holding her back. “Every single time I think I got all the 10 songs I’m like, I’m buggin,” Cardi confessed. “These ain’t it. It’s just like, damn I’m competing with myself.” She also hasn’t tweeted in a month—a pretty serious development for an artist who built a fanbase by sharing deeply personal life stories on social media. If she’s not tweeting, she’s probably doing everything she can to make sure the album is pure fire.