5 Takeaways From Cardi B's New Single 'Be Careful'

Cardi B
Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Cardi B poses backstage at the Christian Siriano show at The Grand Lodge on Feb. 10, 2018 in New York City.

Cardi B reps hip-hop history and heritage on new 'Invasion of Privacy' single.

Before releasing her hotly anticipated debut album Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B unleashed her newest single “Be Careful” on Friday (March 30). Expectations were sky-high even before Bardi revealed the song’s title. After all, the track follows the chart-topping “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” and the 21 Savage-assisted “Bartier Cardi,” which peaked at No. 14.

But Bardi met those lofty expectations with a vengeful bang. Produced by Boi-1da, Frank Dukes, and Vinylz, the song is a heartbreaking dedication to an unfaithful lover. Plus, it’s a single that has plenty of people talking ahead of Invasion of Privacy and what the long-awaited album might contain. Here are five major takeaways from Cardi’s B’s latest sing-along smash.

Cardi Tributes Lauryn Hill

Cardi B shows love to Ms. Lauryn Hill’s legacy on “Be Careful.” The tracks borrows from “Ex-Factor” off 1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and that’s meaningful for historical reasons. Sure, both are rumored to be about famous partners (“Be Careful” about Offset and “Ex-Factor” about Wyclef Jean). But the song also combines the only unaccompanied female MCs ever to top the Billboard Hot 100. L Boogie did it with “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in ’98, while Bardi did it with “Bodak Yellow” last year.

Wu-Tang Clan Gets Writing Credit

Lauryn Hill isn’t the only hip-hop legend credited on “Be Careful.” Keen fans noticed that Wu-Tang Clan members also appear in the song’s credits. But why? “Ex-Factor” contains elements from Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” off 1993’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Since “Be Careful” borrows from “Ex-Factor,” it seems Wu-Tang Clan’s credits transfer over. Interestingly enough, inspiration has gone both ways. Last year, U-God released “WUDak Yellow” inspired by Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” sensation.

Cardi B Represents Her Latina Heritage

The daughter of a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother, Cardi represents for Spanish speakers everywhere on “Be Careful.” Maybe her word choice is a bit too raunchy to quote here, but it nonetheless speaks to her cultural pride. “I had to put alittle SHPANISH in there,” she later tweeted. Cardi’s done that throughout her budding career, including on Ozuna’s “La Modelo” and the Spanish Trap remix for “Bodak Yellow” with Messiah.

Pop Culture References Add Depth

Cardi B peppers “Be Careful” with pop culture references. First, she defines her ideal romance through NBA’s golden couple, Stephen and Ayesha Curry. Then, she compares her real-life relationship with Offset to the the one between an unfaithful Tommy (DMX) and Keisha (Taral Hicks) in Hype Williams’ 1998 film Belly. Finally, Cardi B uses TLC’s 1994 classic “Creep” to describe how her man “creeps” around while she provides some tender love and care. These pop culture references add depth to her already heartbreaking narrative.

Rumors Fuel The Song’s Fire

Cardi B never names the unfaithful beau referenced on “Be Careful,” but fans immediately thought she was rapping about Offset -- particularly because the song surfaced in the aftermath of a tabloid storm surrounding infidelity and pregnancy. Artists have used turbulent relationships to inspire artistic success in the past: Take The Weeknd’s My Dear Melancholy, Beyonce’s Lemonade, or JAY-Z’s 4:44 in the last couple of years alone. Who knows if Cardi’s “Be Careful” is about Offset, but the fact that the track follows these rumors no doubt amplifies its impact.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.