Since her breakthrough as a star of Love & Hip-Hop, Cardi B has been breaking barriers. Whether it’s her achievement as the first artist of Dominican descent to reach no. 1 on the Billboard charts, or her unapologetic sense of humor, Cardi has always pushed the envelope.
With her Bad Bunny and J Balvin collab “I Like It,” Cardi B scored her second no. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first woman in hip-hop to do so. The song is a now-ubiquitous, Bronx-rooted banger and obvious standout from Invasion of Privacy, notching Bad Bunny and Balvin’s first no. 1 and reigniting the continual debate about Spanish-language pop music in the mainstream.
Billboard sat down with everyone involved in the song’s creation to get a sense of how the song came together. From producers, label heads, to the artists themselves, read the full backstory over at Billboard, and scroll down for the highlights.
The CEO of Atlantic Records chose the Pete Rodriguez samples.
Craig Kallman, the CEO and chairman of Atlantic Records, is a storied producer and music industry gatekeeper. He’s behind classics like Lupe Fiasco’s “Daydreamin,” but had retired as a studio producer – that is, until the idea for “I Like It” came along.
As he told Billboard, “I have about 1.1 million vinyl albums, so I went back to digging in the crates…I have this Latin music collection and pored through it and put together hundreds of sample ideas,” he said. “Pete Rodriguez was always one of my favorite artists. ‘I Like It Like That’ and ‘Oh That’s Nice’ are two of my favorite records. I always felt like that could come back as an idea.” He added, “You’ll also hear [Pete Rodriguez’s] “Oh That’s Nice” in the background.”
From start to finish, the whole record took 7 months.
Between adding producers, collecting Bad Bunny and Balvin’s verses, and a handful of other setbacks, the song took seven whole months to finish. “We started the record in October and didn’t finish until right before we turned the album, which was early April of this year,” said Lanre Gaba, the general manager/svp urban A&R Atlantic Records. “Cardi went days without leaving the studio. She was pregnant and literally cutting vocals all night into the morning,” he added.
J Balvin and Bad Bunny worked on their verses together.
Balvin told Billboard that he and the Puerto Rican trap star traded ideas for their verses. “Me and Bad Bunny worked together recording and changing the vibe. It was super dope,” he said.
"I Like It" was one of the last songs to make it on the album.
Since the song took a full seven months to make, “I Like It” was definitely the product of perfectionists. Co-producer Invincible Beats told Billboard that he was invited to work on the track “two or three weeks before Cardi was closing the album, [and it was] one of the last songs.” The album was turned into the label in early April.