Friday, April 27th, 2018

Nicki Minaj – Barbie Tingz



Julian Axelrod: There’s nothing I actively dislike about “Barbie Tingz,” aside from the title and the inane pre-chorus. And I admire the restrained production, which lets Nicki bounce zingers off the springy 808s like my dad playing racquetball. But it feels aggressively inessential, not so much a comeback single as a Soundcloud loosie. If this came out in 2014, the internet would lose its collective shit. But it’s 2018, and rap culture can now accommodate more than one badass shit-talking female MC. (Three, to be exact.) That’s good news for us, but bad news for Nicki Minaj. 

Micha Cavaseno: The accidental segues into echoes of “Roxanne’s Revenge” type drums establishing a link to the first GOAT female rapper of all time and her borough’s last great rapper is a small treasure for me but I’ll be absolutely honest: Nicki’s spark appears more and more diminished each year. It’s not so much that the bars have dulled particularly, its the conviction of each performance more and more relies less on her melodramatic hysteria and a sort of generic brashness that really does keep her at the level of Cardi and Remy that she insists she’s above. Her snipes, boasts and brags don’t work to elevate her but diminish her. So between “Barbie” and sister single “Chun Li,” long awaited singles after a weird period where a novelty Rae Sremmurd remix was supposed to be a respectable appetizer, I have to wonder even as a fan: how is Nicki supposed to demonstrate any designs towards superiority? Is it in the pop singles that she’s so easily mocked for, or is it entrenching herself further and further into generic NYC mixtape rap that she’d transcended once upon a time? Fact is, it’s worryingly fair to say Nicki doesn’t know the answer to that, either.

Will Adams: The sudden switches to the booming drums and perkier delivery à la “Itty Bitty Piggy” or “Stupid Hoe” are meant to evoke the Nicki of yore, I suppose. But it only serves to show much much she’s simmered down since then. The rest is standard subdued swagger that’s not sonically engaging enough to elevate Nicki’s cruise control verses.

Ryo Miyauchi: Strictly speaking on the music, “Barbie Tingz” is a warm-up exercise before the Pinkprint follow-up; the sparse drum-and-bass track lays a fine platform for Nicki to let loose. But the past several one-offs by Nicki since “No Frauds” have closely coincided with some off-record narrative enough to warp blank shots into potentially targeted jabs, and “Barbie Tingz” likewise carries a suspicious air of the personal, thanks to the now-simmered Cardi B drama. I can’t help but hear some insecurities behind her relentless punches, as if she feels the need to keep up her guard at all times to not show weakness.

Stephen Eisermann: Though her recent features have made it easy to forget, there’s no denying that Nicki Minaj is a damn good rapper. Here, on an aggressive trap beat, Nicki lets loose while rapping about how much of an influence she’s had on the new female rappers hitting the scene. And, well, she’s not wrong; look, with all of the hype and the fun recent singles, it’s been easy to claim otherwise, but with the controlled flow and rhymes found here, it becomes clear: Nicki Minaj is the best mainstream female rapper, and she’s finally back delivering quality tracks.

Alfred Soto: The throwback beat would be too easy for anybody else except this comeback move, where Nicki Minaj demonstrates her facility: snapping syllables, imitating haters. But it’s still rather rote skill flaunting. 

Reader average: [4.8] (5 votes)

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One Response to “Nicki Minaj – Barbie Tingz”

  1. \o/