Apart from the singles, I didn’t particularly enjoy Bruno Mars’ 2016 album 24K Magic. It wasn’t a bad album – I’m not sure Mars is capable of that – but the cache of “Uptown Funk” rehashes wore thin pretty quickly.
After the excellent “Versace on the Floor” underperformed last year, it’s surprising that Mars chose to release another single from 24K Magic instead of moving on to a new project. “Finesse” follows its parent album’s theme closely: funky, slick new jack swing production, cocky but largely inoffensive lyrics, and that genuinely feel-good vibe Mars has ridden to pop superstardom. It’s a good, well-constructed pop song, but it doesn’t quite pop.
Thanks the heavens then for Cardi B, who appears on the single remix with the spark “Finesse” needs to lift off. The firecracker rapper has elevated every song she’s featured on these last few months, and “Finesse” continues her hot streak. It turns out the song needed a hypeman, and Cardi, with her bottomless, unapologetically hood energy, excels at the task, dropping a swagtastic verse that kicks the party off much better than the original. By the time she pops again at the end, you’re well into party mode in your best baggy, bright-colored wear.
Bruno was smart to tap Cardi for the “Finesse” remix. Not only is she the most in-demand rapper right now, I can’t imagine anyone else having as much as she clearly is on this song. She is just what he needed to turn a good but forgettable album track into the party anthem of the season. Forget the winter storm ravaging the East Coast right now; Cardi B is the bomb cyclone.
If you haven’t yet, check out the In Living Color-inspired music video below (and Google In Living Color if you don’t get the reference, I guess):