Alex Macpherson: Listening to “My Chick Bad” feels like adjudicating a court case. The defence kicks off with the reliable gambit of topicality — “coming out swinging like TIGER WOODS’ WIFE!” — and a personal appeal to me in the form of a tennis reference. (When the Williams sisters retire, rappers will be as bereft as women’s tennis; time to start polishing those rhymes for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova!) The prosecution swiftly counters in the second verse with a one-two-facedesk-punchline that surely no song can recover from: “coming down the street like a parade…MACY’S!” is bad enough, but “I fill her up…BALLOONS!” in the very next line is senselessly baffling whether Ludacris thinks he’s referring to penetrative sex or breast implants. Nicki Minaj’s guest verse is middling by her standards — not as wince-inducing as “Bedrock”, but not as entertaining or imaginative as “Fuck U Silly” or “Take It Off” – though her pink-wigged straitjacket’n’scissorhands video cameo is rather triumphant. Alternatively, it’s probably best to just bypass the above dilemma and head straight for the remix with Diamond, Trina and Eve: “Ride or die chick with a pocketful of relish/Jimmy Choo fetish keep me fresh like lettuce.”
Chuck Eddy: I don’t care how kinky Luda’s girl gets, though I’m impressed she can handle her liquor; I liked Chalie Boy’s bluesy small-town Texas fat-boy rap “I Look Good” last year, which provides the main hook here; I like the gratifyingly simple riddle-and-answer concept of Luda’s rhyme scheme even when it’s dumb (hell, I might like it more because it’s dumb); I like his Tiger Woods and Venus-and-Serena jokes (which are kinda dumb too, all the better) and Nicki’s horror movie jokes (ditto). And overall I’m pretty sure I’ve heard no rap singles more entertaining in 2010, unless the remix with Diamond, Eve, and Trina counts. They’re both on the cusp between 7 and 8 for me. Gonna give ’em the benefit of the doubt.
Martin Skidmore: He makes me smile every time – partly this is down to funny lines, but much of it’s his cartoony delivery. The very bassy strings in this are forceful, he’s on good and entertaining form and there’s a catchy hook. Minaj is one of my favourite new rappers of recent years, and they suit each other well – this isn’t her best verse, but she sounds sharp and fits in nicely. I love it.
Matt Cibula: What more can I say? Almost top billin’.
Al Shipley: After the pitched-up hyperactive Miami bass vibe of “How Low,” this song’s slow, sluggish beat and pitched down hook feel even uglier and more unpleasant than they would otherwise. And Luda might even have been able to save it if he was in good form. Instead, he’s letting the company dictate his style, grocery bagging up brainless Young Money-style word association rhymes like “I fill her up…BALLOONS!”
Alfred Soto: Forget his guest appearances — Luda needs his own space, and he takes advantage of it here. He’s one of those rappers whose bravado actually helps him project a sweet aw-shucks vibe.
Alex Ostroff: Luda’s verses lack momentum…BUNTING / Coasts on a Dame ‘n’ goodwill…HUNTING / Flow is tired and barely above mine / ‘Cause he and Nicki really phone it in…LOVELINE.
Rodney J. Greene: The entirely servicable hook and beat are almost enough for me to overlook the most lightweight punches this side of Gudda Gudda…LOVE TAP! But my tolerance for the level of doggerel on display depends entirely on how I currently feel…MOOD RING!
John Seroff: On the street, I heard two young women talking to one another in what was clearly their “Nicki Minaj voice”, a’la “we goin’ to the store, SO-YOU-NEED-TO-GET-YA-WALLET-OUT!” with the requisite accompanying pseudo-minstrelsy eye-bulging, lip-pursing and head-cocking. I’m afraid this level of ubiquity suggests that Nicki will no longer have reason, as I was hoping, to take the Eminem path and improve her skills (or ghostwriting) and get lyrics that live up to the promise of her flow. Her scant six bars are entirely disposable on “My Chick Bad” and even so, she’s clearly the main attraction. The less said about Ludacris’ embrace of what the ILX autoswag crew call grocery bag style the better; Luda’s chirp of “BALLOONS!” haunts me even now.
Kat Stevens: I think I’m rapidly falling head over heels for Nicki – everything she says is covered in a slobbery layer of slow-motion gobby nonsense that I must devour like Haribo Monster Mix. Her presence here has made Luda up his game too: a Tiger Woods reference, the gallumphing orchestra on the prowl, and that killer line “coming down the street like a parade: MACY’S!” But Nicki comes right back at him with “It’s going down: BASEMENT!” I can just picture her comedy facial expression as the lift doors are closing and she “realises” she’s stuck in there with some dude in an ice hockey mask.
Ian Mathers: “Balloons!” is clearly the best rap interjection since the golden days of “Balllllln’.” Minaj is good-not-great here (can we review “Massive Attack”?), but given that this is the clearest forum for Luda to do what he does best in a while, her verse seems a little less necessary (except for “you a Wookie to me,” obviously).
Michaelangelo Matos: Is it my imagination or is the slowed-down vocal hook a kind of high-gloss version of a jerkin’ production standby? Whatever its source, I like the way this sounds, though the credited stars of the show (“Homer” and “boner,” Luda, really?) pretty much phone it in.