Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Migos ft. Nicki Minaj & Cardi B – Motor Sport

Also ft. Clara Peller.


[Video][Website]
[7.33]

Julian Axelrod: “Motor Sport” finds itself at the center of several larger narratives. It’s simultaneously a primer for Culture II, a “Save the Date” for Offset and Cardi B, and a coda to the (mostly imagined) Nicki-Cardi beef. (Weirdly, Cardi dismisses the rumors while Nicki stays mum, even when she ends her verse with a string of lines that rhyme with Cardi.) So it’s impressive that the song lives up to the hype, gives all five players time to shine, and still stands on its own two (ten?) feet. The beat is as durable and multifaceted as the diamonds on Takeoff’s wrist, accommodating a variety of flows without wearing out its welcome. But equal credit goes to Migos, Nicki and Cardi, who are all experts at making every line sound like a hook. More than anything, “Motor Sport” is a victory lap — a State of the Union Address from five superstars who have earned the right to flex.
[7]

Nortey Dowuona: Thank god there is NO BEEF. None. Cardi hops in and swings over the tinkling synths, purring bass and seemingly invisible drums and doesn’t stop going in. Nicki has been killing things for a while so her dope verse was expected. You know what wasn’t expected? Migos completely wasting the open lanes on this empty road. Culture 2 doesn’t look good.
[7]

John Seroff: Is it gauche to point out that Cardi just pulled a Monster on this track? Props, I suppose, to Nicki for doing the I-don’t-even-need-to-say-your-name ultraviolet shade in her last bars.
[7]

Stephen Eisermann: Let’s cut to the chase – this is all about Cardi and Nicki. Cardi comes in hard and rough, immediately asserting herself as a heavy hitter and using her clever word play and knowledge of Spanish to make one hell of a verse. Listening to her it’s hard not to fall into an immediate trance and just want to root for her, be her, be jealous of her, and want her all at once. Nicki, though, doesn’t back down at her challenge.; her verse starts off more slowly, sure, but by the end of the verse Nicki has gone through three different flows, an array of (sometimes weird, always interesting) wordplay, and ends it all with a more understated assertion of her place. It’ll be interesting to see these two careers collide as Cardi releases more music, but one thing is certain: Nicki will be all the better for it as she rises to the challenge, one she hasn’t really faced since the inception of her career.
[7]

Alfred Soto: The Migos crew mumbles and strawberries in the usual places, so I look to the fading star and the star ascendant for wit and fury: Cardi is as belligerent as Nicki Minaj in 2010, Nicki slows down her cadences and occupies an impressive space, as if she asked everyone involved to step away while she thought through her lines. 
[7]

Thomas Inskeep: Oooh, these Migos boys are smart. Sure, Murda Beatz and Cubeatz provide a slick, stripped trap chassis for them to ride. (Love those chimes.) And sure, Offset and Takeoff’s verses are solid (and as for Quavo, well, maybe he should consider ditching the Autotune for a minute? His chorus is more repetitive than anything). But this isn’t just a hot-sounding single, this is an event record, because thanks Quavo (who originally envisioned this is a single between him and still-the-queen-until-someone-deposes-her Nicki Minaj) and Offset (who’s engaged to biggest-new-female-rapper-since-Minaj Cardi B), this single features both Minaj and Cardi B, and is thus kind of a meeting of the minds. Minaj offers up her best verse in at least a year, switching up her flows and going for the jugular; just when you might think she’s gone soft, she’s gonna prove you wrong. But the VIP here is Cardi B, who had plenty to prove: was “Bodak Yellow” just a lucky shot? Clearly not, because she sounds  savage, taking down everything in her path. And calling herself the “trap Selena” and then quoting Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” is the true cherry on this sundae. She ain’t playin’. “Motor Sport” is the dictionary definition of heat. 
[9]

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