Nicki Minaj

Some say that to preserve yourself is to limit how much of yourself is given, and that to be truly present is to have presence even in your absence.  For Nicki Minaj, the internationally acclaimed multi-platinum recording artist turned mogul, time off the scene has only made the bolster of her return that much more powerful. She stopped by Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio broadcast premiering the rapidly anticipated “Chun Li” and “Barbie Tingz” while chopping it up with Zane Lowe about everything from relationships with Meek and Drake to Her take on Cardi B.

Officially back in the mix with the release of two new hot tracks, Minaj took some time to soak up the love she has been receiving since she announced that she was releasing new music earlier this week, teasing a countdown on Twitter for two days followed by the surprise release of cover art for the singles. (insert cover art for singles)

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“Chun Li” is uptempo and bass-heavy, reminiscent of “Chiraq” & “Shanghai,” complete with the sounds of big drums and symbols, mentions of chopsticks and the Chinese characters on her upper arm.  The Street Fighter character “Chun Li” is a vengeful persona frequently invoked by Minaj who she seemingly identifies with.  She raps, “They need rappers like me…so they can get on their f#%*ing little keyboards and make me the bad guy, Chun Li.”  Some have speculated the possibility of those lyrics referring to an apparent plot to pit budding Rap star Cardi B. and herself against each other.  When asked about whether there was any beef between the two, Minaj initially hesitated to indulge the topic sarcastically asking, “Is that a rumor out there?”  She eventually congratulated Cardi B. on her success but made a point to mention how Cardi hurt her in interviews she did after they collaborated with Migos.

“The only thing with Cardi that really really really hurt my feelings…was the first interview she did when “Motorsport” came out. She looked so aggravated and angry,” said Minaj. “The only thing she kept saying was, ‘oh, I didn’t hear that verse; she changed her verse.”

The self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Rap’ found herself at least minimally moved to tears during this segment of the interview as she lamented about being perceived as a villain throughout her career despite her various collaborations and instances of paying homage.  Clips from earlier interviews circulated of Minaj singing the praises of Hip-Hop pioneers like M.C. Lyte, Salt n’ Peppa, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott, and literally bowing to the floor beneath Lauryn Hill.  Still, the narrative that she is cocky and selfish remains prevalent among some spectators.  Some people theorized that the two did not appear together in the music video for the single because of Minaj being a mean-girl diva; however, she said it was simply a scheduling conflict with a popular industry hairstylist that both artists have now used. #ShesUsingMyHairdresserNow

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“Barbie Tingz” has a similar retro Nicki ring, harnessing that early mixtape sound from her Beam Me Up Scotty “Itty Bitty Piggy” days.  She fires shots at her nemesis Remy Ma, who is currently on a promo tour for her single “Melanin Magic” feat. Chris Brown, which peaked at no. 29 on t Billboard’s Hot 100. “…At least you took a L off your bucket list/It’s time to make hits and it’s time to diss/ How you still dissin’ still can’t find some hits?/Was it worth it, dummy? I ain’t mind a bit/Still on that show gettin’ no chips? Time to dip!” Yikes!

Needless to say, Nicki Minaj is back and she is not holding any punches. She announced that she will be releasing her fourth studio album this year and going on another world tour. Until then, check out “Chun Li” and “Barbie Tingz.”

And surprise! Just when you thought she was finished, another single has surfaced today from rapper Young Thug featuring Nicki Minaj called “Anybody.” Stream all of Minaj’s newest rhymes on Tidal now here or below.