Cardi B.’s, “I Like It Like That” shows the enduring qualities of the Pete Rodriguez classic


Maybe some audiences missed Cardi B’s debut release, “Invasion of Privacy.” If they did, then they missed her version of “I Like It Like That.” The song made it all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard charts, proving that more than 50 years after its original release, even songs that only sample the original can benefit from the swaggering chorus, blaring horns and general Latin flavor that gets people up and moving.

Cardi B.’s “I Like It Like That” a departure from the original

There is something to be said for the endurable nature of a song when it cross genres and still manages to be successful. Anyone who researches “I Like It Like That” will find that Cardi B.’s version done with Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, is essentially a Cardi B. song. But, the rhythms of the original, as well as the title used as a chorus feature is also present. It should also be noted that while the instrumentation and lyrical phrasing have been used, Cardi B.’s version is not a sample, per se. Musicians replayed the original instrument parts for her recording.

Hip-hop was not a genre yet in 1967 when Pete Rodriguez made the song and a subsequent album of the same name. The song’s genre was boogaloo then. The single doesn’t appear to have been a hit. More than 50 years later, not only did it reach No. 1, but it was nominated for Record of the Year at the 61st Grammy Award ceremony.

“I Like It Like That”: a rhythmic anthem with staying power

In the years between Cardi B.’s version and the original, there was another popular version of “I Like It Like That.” In 1994, the Blackout All-Stars, a Latin supergroup, remade the song. Among the group’s members were Sheila E., Tito Puente, Tito Nieves, Grover Washington Jr., Ray Barretto, Paquito D’Rivera and Dave Valentin. Nieves took over the lead vocal duties. The song didn’t attract much attention until it appeared in a Burger King ad. Shortly thereafter, it reached as high as No. 25 on Billboard.

What does the history of this song mean to music fans? Like any other aspect of culture, there are elements that can be recycled in some form. There are ways to make older songs new, and that is likely to prompt listeners who are too young to know about the original version(s) to do a little research to find out where the music they like now comes from. The song symbolizes how Latin music makes its way into the American mainstream and garners considerable success.

In all its forms, “I Like It Like That” remains danceable, sultry and fun. The song is an undeniable classic – – its continued popularity is proof of that.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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