In the video, which dropped Tuesday morning—just hours after the exuberance of Memorial Day barbecues finally faded into workweek torpor—a visibly pregnant Cardi shimmies down the block, adorned in jewel tones and copious statement jewelry. She’s resplendent, a luxed-up version of the regular degular shmegular girl from the Bronx she’s always been. For much of the video, her hair is swept up in headscarves; it’s no Rihanna doobie wrap, but it’s striking (and maternal) all the same. J. Balvin, meanwhile, spends most of his screen time rocking a two-piece outfit that resembles a fabulist take on tourist attire, as if the much-maligned Hawaiian shirt stepped into the machine that turned Steve Urkel into Stefan Urquelle. Bad Bunny’s sartorial choices are the simplest, but he accessorizes the most boldly: Whether spitting his own lines or dancing behind Cardi, he holds tight to a hookah as though it is his anchor.
In standard Cardi style, the hook is brash, boastful, and impossibly catchy:
Diamond district in the jag (I said I like it like that)
Certified, you know I’m gang, gang, gang, gang (I said I like it like–)
Drop the top and blow the brains (I said I like it like that)
Oh he’s so handsome, what’s his name? (I said I like it)
Oh I need the dollars (I said I like it like that)
Beat it up like piñatas (I said I like it like—)
Tell the driver, close the curtains (I said I like it like that)
Bad bitch make him nervous (I said I like it)
Verses from both Bad Bunny and J. Balvin match Cardi’s energy: Referencing his own hit record “Chambea,” Bad Bunny begins his bars by taunting his haters: “Chambean, chambean, pero no jalan (¡jalan!) / Tú compras to’a las Jordan, bobo, a mí me las regalan (jejeje).” Like Cardi, he remains far richer—and flyer—than anyone who mocks him while lacking the temerity to say it to his face. Later in the song, J. Balvin opens with an invocation of Celia Cruz, the iconic Afro-Cuban singer whose “¡Azúcar!” became a hallmark of Cuban salsa: “Como Celia Cruz tengo el azúcar (azúca’) / Tu jeva me vio y se fue de pecho como Jimmy Snuka (ah) / Te vamos a tumbar la peluca.” The lines are both cocky and playful: Balvin claims he has all the sweetness (and by extension, spice) of the legendary Cruz, then brags about women falling to their feet in front of him in moves not unlike that of Fijian wrestler Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, then speaks directly to stans, whose proverbial wig he knows the trio has knocked askew.
Both men, of Puerto Rican and Colombian descent respectively, add complementary dynamism to the track, the most Latin-influenced of the triumphant Invasion of Privacy. “I Like It” telegraphs the heritage of its chanteuse without room for misinterpretation: Cardi demands equal attention be paid to both sides of her Afro-Latina hyphen, that the two be understood together. “I Like It” is a medley of nods to her roots—the Dominican Republic, Trinidad, the Bronx. Her delivery builds on the savvy, reggaeton-inflected production: In the first verse, Cardi stretches out the word texts so that it nearly rhymes with exes, a move that grants the line rhythm—and also reflects the bilingual rapper’s natural speaking cadence.