I still have to think back to Nicki Minaj's verse on Kanye West's "Monster," what seems like an eternity ago, when people start breaking her down. There, in the span of one verse, were a handful of Minaj's personas, as the NYC rapper asserted herself as both masculine ("My money's so tall") and feminine ("That my Barbie's gotta climb it").
I wasn't really a fan of Pink Friday, her debut. It seemed a little too stiff, a little too dependent on reaching a specific audience, a little too safe. Her new album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, while more eclectic, feels uneven as well, especially with "Stupid Hoe," a diss track, sitting on the same album as "Beez in the Trap," a far superior diss track. The former almost feels like it was a placeholder for something better, but the album was pressed without it. Truthfully, I'd be completely happy just hearing Nicki mix tapes twice a year in lieu of an album.
Still, the visual is a big part of Minaj's picture, and "Beez in the Trap" finds her back in spitter mode, shaking off the dramatic nosebleed that was her performance of "Roman Reloaded" at the Grammys. Over the song's simple, repetitive beat and bassline, she turns the tables on the typical strip club video shoot. Here, she's the one eying the women and boasting "a hundred muthafuckas can't tell me nothing" as she counts her money. In this video, the men are the objects, standing behind her, watching her rap.
Elsewhere, Minaj squats behind barbed wire like a museum piece, 2 Chainz does a verse and some ladies with phenomenal asses show them off. Not the most groundbreaking video, but she does take a tired rap phrase, "Bitches ain't shit," and fixes her gaze on the men who've exhausted it.
The current climate of rap boasting has gotten pretty humid, especially when cultural indulgences like Donald Glover's Childish Gambino "project" can get enough fan traction to boo an actual rapper like Danny Brown, as happened last Saturday in Dallas. The fact that she can do a track like this, and probably be on The View next week, shows she's both the bait and the trap.