Cardi dropped “Bongos” at midnight, releasing the provocative single with a colorful music video directed by Tanu Muino. The stunning visual is as vibrant and mind-bending as fans expect from the Bronx native, featuring dancers draped in a spectrum of colors, half-naked male models in speedos and more.
“Honey, I’m home, shoes gettin’ kicked off (Uh) / Every time I turn around, a b**ch pissed off (Ah-ha) / Little dusty a** h**s need a lint brush (Woo),” Cardi raps as she goes from relaxing by the beach in over-the-top accessories and gorgeous custom outfits to twerking on a couch in a living room draped in dizzying wallpaper to match her playful jumpsuit. “You gon’ settle down, you gon’ live with him (What?) / I don’t even wanna post a pic with him (No) / The bag he just bought me was a Goyard (Goyard) / That ain’t your ni**a, he is both ours.”
When Megan takes her turn to spit over the Latin-infused, twerk-worthy bassline, she reminds fans that she’s never afraid to lyrically flex on a track.
“This a** sit like a stallion, all these wannabes my lil’ ponies / These h**s camped out in the comments, always talkin’ like they know me (Ayy) / Thick b**ches in the black truck, packed in / Eat whoever in my way, Ms. Pacman,” the Traumazine artist raps as she stuns in a multi-colored green one-piece, surrounded by dancers in a huge pool. “Hermes, made a real big purchase / Purse so big, had to treat it like a person.”
The video backdrop is the stunning Spanish-style mansion known as the Beverly Estate, previously featured in films such as The Godfather and The Bodyguard, as well as Beyoncé’s visual album, Black Is King.
Fans have been waiting for the duo to reunite since they teased another collaboration while celebrating their “WAPiversary” in 2021.
According to a recent interview with Hot 97, the song had been in the works for a while. “This song has been part of a plan for a minute now,” Cardi explained, mentioning that even before Megan’s verses were added to the track, she had a vision of her being on it. “It’s just one of those records where you need somebody. And even on those parts, where she’s at, I did verses to it, but then it just feels like a long ass song.”
She added: “She always sends verses and I chop it up and it just goes really well. She’s my work wife.”
In a YouTube livestream conversation with Megan before the video’s premiere, Cardi told their fans, “[‘Bongos’ is] not really like ‘WAP,’ and the theme…of the photo shoot, we wanted to trick y’all. Because we actually wanted y’all to think it got like, ‘WAP’ element, but it don’t.”
Megan recalled, “I was so happy when I got the song because it doesn’t sound like anything that’s out right now, and I feel like it definitely challenged me to rap in a different way. ‘Cause I never rapped over a beat like this before, and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, she want me to go put my foot in this b**ch. OK, I can do that for her. She want me to work for it, OK, here we go.'”
The 28-year-old also shared, as a “side note, outside of music,” why she was excited to work with the 30-year-old rapper again.
“For me as a person, I don’t really — this space that I’m in mentally, I’m not like fooling with too many people that don’t give me good vibes, good energy,” she confessed. “I have literally created boundaries. And Cardi is somebody that I want in my space, in my energy. … She been nothing but real to me. Like, the industry is so f**ked up, but this girl is probably the only girl who have been this consistent and this real, and this — this just great of a person to me.”
“Bongos” marks Megan’s first musical release in over a year. Last August, she shared her second studio album, Traumazine, before announcing in October that she would be stepping away from her relentless schedule after her Saturday Night Live performance.
Megan has remained out of the public eye since testifying against former friend Tory Lanez during his felony assault trial in December 2022 for shooting her in the feet in August 2020. After a week-long trial, the Canadian musician was convicted on three counts at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles. On Aug. 8, Lanez was sentenced to 10 years in prison, seven months after his conviction.
“Fans can expect new music when I’m in a better place. Right now, I’m focused on healing,” she told the outlet. “The music and entertainment industry can be a grind, so it’s important to take time off and avoid burning out. Life is all about balance.”
As for Cardi, “Bongos” adds another entry to her back-to-back collabs this year. The rapper scored a summer hit with Latto on “Put It On Da Floor Again,” joined FendiDa Rappa on “Point Me 2,” and, most recently, she featured on her husband Offset’s one-off single “Jealousy.”
The rapper hasn’t shared if “Bongos” will end up on her upcoming album, but she did give fans an update on the long-awaited release in an interview with Vogue México y Latinoamérica.
“I’m not going to release any more collaborations, I’m going to put out my next solo single,” she told the outlet in August, adding that she was “working on the cover art and ideas for the next record” at the time.
The new album — still untitled — doesn’t have an official release date but will mark the first solo full-length from Cardi since her breakout debut, Invasion of Privacy, dropped in 2018.
Chatting with SiriusXM’s DJ Whoo Kid for his show Whoo’s House, Cardi reiterated that the album doesn’t have a title but shared that she has a date in mind. But fans shouldn’t get excited!
“I have a day. It’s not coming around my birthday,” the rapper said to quell any theories. “It’s not coming around my birthday. It’s not. Imma let y’all know — matter of fact, I don’t want nothing coming out in the month of October. October is my month.”
Cardi also elaborated on how the new collaboration with Megan came to be, explaining that initially, it was suggested she work with a Latin artist instead.
“The part where Megan is kind of at in the song, because we chopped the song a lot, like the part where like she’s at, it be like ‘Bong, bong, bong,’ and I was planning for that to be the hook, but it just sounded so incomplete,” she recalled. “Then, we [were] just like, ‘This song needs a feature'” so it’s like a lot of people wanted it to go the Spanish route with it and I’m like, ‘I could see that. I could see that, definitely.'”
She continued: “But I was like, ‘I feel like I hear Megan on this.’ It’s like, ‘Really? You don’t think that It’s more like of the Latin part,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I hear her on this. Like, I know it. I know I could hear her on this,’ and when she sent her verse — [It was over.]”