Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Nicki Minaj ft. 2 Chainz – Beez in the Trap

Sorry, Katherine: this song has rapping, which means it won’t touch the top 10…


[Video][Website]
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Jamieson Cox: “Beez in the Trap” is maybe the most convincing argument for Nicki’s star power yet, more than the immortal “Monster” verse or any of the megahits or the bonkers Grammy performance. It’s not a triumph of her technical ability or way with a punchline or five (“Monster,” “Dance (A$$)”) and it’s not sugary-sweet like “Your Love” or “Super Bass”. But it’s a testament to the transformative power of swagger, confidence, attitude: whatever you want to call that intangible quality, this is it. It’s tough to describe how thoroughly she owns the beat, how she makes every word memorable unto itself. The song I’m most reminded of is “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” only one of my favourite singles of the past 10 years and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser from 2004 to 2064. Time will tell if “beez in the trap” becomes a similarly immortal line; I wouldn’t be disappointed if it did. Beez in the trap, beez beez in the trap. She’s shittin’ on your whole life. Pick your own favourite lines and repeat ad nauseum.
[9]

Michelle Myers: There is nothing innovative about “Beez In The Trap.” The beat is stark; its dark simplicity feels current in our year of “Rack City,” but also familiar, like a stripped down Neptunes track. The hook is memorable. She manages to make the trap seem cute. She appropriates “bitches ain’t shit.” 2 Chainz is just good enough that he does not detract from the quality of the song, but not so good that he outshines Nicki. I smile when he says “doohickey,” but I never forget whose show it is. Minaj herself is toned down. She never gets fully weird. She is tough, and then she is adorable. She raps competently about shitting on your life. This is the Nicki Minaj song we all asked for. She delivered exactly what the people wanted, and she did it well. The great triumph of “Beez in the Trap” is not that it’s well-crafted, but that something so safe could still feel genuinely fun.
[8]

Iain Mew: “Beez in the Trap” has an ice-sculpture of a beat that’s cold, precise and immaculate. Nicki’s percussive performance initially fits her right in as an imposing part of that sculpture, before 2 Chainz takes an entertaining blowtorch to the whole thing. Then she returns, newly powered up, anger starting to shine through the contempt, as the ice cracks up and crumbles behind her. It’s a formidable show.
[8]

Ramzi Awn: I love hearing her say “Hoboken,” but Nicki’s attempt at jump-rope rap in this chorus makes me want to take a meat cleaver to my speakers. It’s just too… easy. And uninspired. A shame, too, because the bridge is hot as hell.
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Brad Shoup: Ah, Nicki, trying to expand her honey business when so many people look at her pop success as steps backwards. “Beez in the Trap” was the standard for a lot of album reviewers, evidence that she’s not settling for skewering pop tropes or whatever. But the offerings on display are as spare as the (great, admittedly) echolocation beat from Kenoe. Minaj gives us one real verse (cross-country shout-outs almost never count), if 2 Chainz weren’t pimping, he’d be trolling, and ending the bridge on a non-rhyme is probably the coolest thing about the whole enterprise. At some point, pop and hip-hop seem to’ve become riven again, and rather than putting Nicki’s work on a spectrum that goes from, say, “Starships” to “Beez” (like I think we do for, say, Jay-Z — “Young Forever” was awful, but not a reason to stress), we’ve given her sides to pick.
[4]

Anthony Easton: I was going to mention that I would like this kind of work more as an instrumental — the bubbling up, the pops, the rattling chains, the abstract noise that ratchet up something between sex and tension — which is really the case. But seriously, the lyrics are as close to Tzara as anything, so in situ, the words add a layer of abstraction, and it becomes an instrumentation.
[9]

Katherine St Asaph: The beat is fantastic, an auditory pun; the title‘s not about bees, but the track really does sound crafted from a thousand little stings. The rest isn’t so fantastic. Nicki never quite expands on that great chorus, 2 Chainz is a stowaway, and it’s yet another fuck-the-haters song, one that doubles as a too-convenient defense of Roman Reloaded’s Rihanna leftovers and “Starships.” But it’s proof that Nicki can cross over without being inane, so it bloody well better go No. 1.
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Zach Lyon: “Biscuit”/”Whole life” might be pop’s best non-rhyming couplet in years. I’m a sucker for city shout-out verses, especially because Nicki here is positioning herself as the supreme ruler (or perhaps Godzilla) of, yes, even YOUR hometown. 2 Chainz is the most radio-ready rap feature in months. The beat needs no defending. This needs to at least become as big as “Look At Me Now” was last year or I will not leave my room for a week.
[8]

Edward Okulicz: Having looked at either her label or her purse and dropped the Nicki-for-jocks inanity of “Starships” and its awful chorus, this one’s a gift to the hip-hop heads, music nerds, and those of us who were waiting for Nicki’s very own “Hollaback.” “Beez” hangs in the air as a fog of deep squelches and pops, and Nicki doesn’t just fuck the haters, she does it with a stupid great grin on her face. Someone should make another Bring it On sequel just so this song can be in it.
[8]

Alfred Soto: Amid the wreckage of Roman Reloaded a handful of tracks avoid compromises with a pop market she has helped shape. “Beez in the Trap” isn’t as furious as “Come on a Cone” but with bubblebeats this infectious and a Nicki rap that hangs back like Charlie Watts behind his kit it creates its own standards of judgment.
[7]

Andy Hutchins: Unfairly shit-on by a New York rap writer class that decided Funkmaster Flex’s umpteenth bit of air-filling shit-talking was more interesting than a blippy, low-key banger, “Beez” features perhaps the most entertaining beginning to a 2 Chainz verse during his spectacular recent run (begging “Okay, now Nicki, Nicki, Nicki, put it in your kitty!” and immediately switching to “Got a new LS 450, ain’t no keys in this doohickey!” has made me laugh almost every time) and Nicki dismissing Hoboken-based princes of the South. If that hasn’t sold you, consider checking your fun switch; no one has a more winsome sneer than Nicki in queen bee mode.
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Jonathan Bradley: The beat, with its cavernous pings and sub-strata bass, seems built to drop jaws, but the best thing it does is get out of the way. This is an MC’s song, and the exciting part about Minaj returning to her core business of rapping is not that her pop detours are anything short of excellent, but that she’s just so damn good at spitting. The lazy condescension of the verses is an exception to her usual elasticity, but it neatly sets up the sinuous, ingratiating hook. Nicki’s chant creates liminal space between rugged blackmarket commerce and girlish sing-song in the same way she permits the word “beez” to hang in a hazy syntactic state between verb and noun. Her chorus feints at Wu-Tang (as in Killa Beez) and jump rope without settling on either. As for the song’s simpler pleasures: 2 Chainz says “doohickey” (and “trousers”). That alone makes him superb value for money.
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Alex Ostroff: The lazy drawl that rhymes no jokin’, Hulk Hogan and Hoboken is one of my favourite Nickis yet, and the chorus – which at first seemed plodding and rote to my ears – has over time transformed into a mantra of understated confidence. In 2012, Nicki doesn’t need to grandstand; all she needs to do is calmly shit on your whole life. 2 Chainz is merely competent, though, and spending an entire verse on city shoutouts without an ‘Area Codes‘-style conceit is a frustrating waste of a great beat. Honestly, I’m just so psyched to have a bona fide rap crossover hit that the kids can infectiously rap along with that I’m willing to forgive a lot. 
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3 Responses to “Nicki Minaj ft. 2 Chainz – Beez in the Trap”

  1. Just watched the video and am baffled why they didn’t set it in a submarine with a radar pinging in time with the beat.

    (Song is brillskillz obv – I am henceforth shitting on my whole life at every opportunity.)

  2. I really like that blurb, J. Bradley, especially that third-to-last sentence re: the way she toys with “beez.” Actually, everyone killed it here! Nice work!

  3. Well done whoever is in charge of the screencaps for spooking me out.