With her breakout hit ‘Bodak Yellow’ Cardi B became the first Female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 since 1998. Cardi is a self-professed feminist and while she has been heralded as something of a trailblazer, ‘Bodak Yellow’ was a fucking earsore. Borderline unlistenable. No wonder it was a huge hit.
Bruno Mars has called her in to beef up the fifth release from 24K Magic.
‘Finesse’ extends Bruno Mars’ sensational run of form. This lo-fi early ’90s / late ’80s sound fits him hand in glove. It is so appreciated right now given how dour and morose current Pop music is. Turning on Pop radio today is like drinking hemlock.
That said, this remix doesn’t really add anything. Certainly getting a hot young talent to zhoosh up your late in the day single makes commercial sense. But Cardi B is a bad choice. ‘Finesse’ is a fun and campy whereas Cardi B is taking it totally seriously.
Besides mugging a lot in the music video, Cardi B plays it totally straight, and hasn’t tweaked her aggressive style at all. ‘Finesse’ is goofy and therefore innocent, and Cardi B certainly is not that. In fact her whole appeal is the fact she is unashamedly brash and confrontational.
While the track itself is trying to be the clown at your birthday party the guest singer is trying to end your life, and it sounds plain weird.
There is some thrill in seeing the norm of Aggressive Male Verse / Soaring Female Chorus flipped on it’s head. ‘Finesse’ is a well put together track – vintage turntable scratches, synthesised bass, tight beat – that perfectly captures the Quincy Jones feel it strives for. Cardi B may sour the sweetness a little, but then she’s barely in it.
‘Finesse’ is another wonderfully kitsch throwback to the days when Pop music didn’t hate itself.