In the past 20 years, as labels’ priorities shifted, the budgets for artists’ music videos fell a lot from their heyday. In the ’90s and 2000s, artists seemingly regularly spent $1 million or more to create videos for their singles, but without music video countdown shows helping to drive sales, it just doesn’t seem worth it to invest so much in something that won’t been seen by nearly as many people.
That is, unless you’re Cardi B, who told iHeartRadio’s Angela Yee she spent over $2 million to make the video for her new song “Bongos” with Megan Thee Stallion. However, as it turned out, that wasn’t originally the plan; Cardi just made the best of a less-than-ideal situation. While she wanted to shoot the video out of the United States — likely somewhere in the Caribbean, judging from the imagery that made it in — hurricane season forced a pivot to Malibu, California.
The new location required more precautions to keep things under wraps. As Cardi explained, “Malibu always [has] paparazzi and everything so we hired about 20 guards, 15 guards just guarding the whole area.” She also says that the production employed geofencing, which creates a perimeter around an area that can send an alert when cellular activity — like posting photos or videos online — is detected. “Stuff like that costs a lot of money,” Cardi said. The discussion begins around the 16-minute mark below.
Cardi B is a Warner Music artist. Megan Thee Stallion is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.