A Year of Lil Wayne: Nicki Minaj Returns, Featuring Lil Wayne
Nicki fires back in the Remy Ma beef, but let's pause on that and talk about Wayne for a second.
Day 171: "Changed It" feat. Lil Wayne – Nicki Minaj, single, 2017 / "No Frauds" feat. Lil Wayne and Drake – Nicki Minaj, single, 2017
Well, it finally happened. After two weeks of increasingly flagrant public speculation about the Nicki Minaj-Remy Ma beef, Nicki finally responded with not one, but two tracks aimed at her adversary. She also posted on Instagram that she'll give Remy a million dollars if Remy can release a hit in the next 72 hours. So… uh… good luck?
I'll let others speculate more on the various implications of Nicki's various lines and what it means in the grand scheme of beef that she handled things in this way, especially dragging Drake and Lil Wayne into it and bringing up Drake's own "Back to Back." But I will point out that "what type of bum bitch shoot a friend over a rack?" is a devastating argument, and "they say numbers don't matter but when they discussin' the kings / they turn around and say Lebron ain't got six rings" is the kind of point that should win people over to Nicki's side entirely. A lot of people seem to be relishing Nicki's fall from grace, though, and the reaction to "No Frauds" so far has been, as far as I can tell, lukewarm. But all of that, like I said, is better left to other discussions.
Let's talk instead about what it means that Nicki, Wayne, and Drake are all on the same song again. From a beef perspective, this is obviously quite a flex, as that lineup pretty much guarantees the song will be at least a minor hit. And, as "Back to Back" reminded us, one of the quickest paths to winning a beef is to have your song become ubiquitous. Nicki and Drake also both address "Back to Back" on here, which is a big moment for the gossip hounds and an appropriate way to get the elephant in the room for their first collab since then out of the way. Wayne's appearance on "No Frauds," meanwhile, gives it just that little extra stamp of authority: "they don't make 'em like me no more, man, I'm a dinosaur." However, the whole song kind of flags under Nicki's half-assed hook. I think she'd have been better off pulling in a more talented singer, but, hey, maybe that's just me.
I'm a bigger fan of "Changed It," which is the weaker of the two from Nicki's perspective and the less effective diss track but the wayyyy more interesting Lil Wayne appearance. Not only is it kind of cool to hear Wayne borrowing Drake's whole mean-cutesy ting for the hook (especially since Wayne kind of invented this sound), but his closing verse is truly inspiring rapping. As Wayne showed on a few of his features from last year, it may have taken several years of farting out terrible pussy-eating jokes, but he's really perfected the fusion of his melodic Auto-Tune and lights-out rapping sides. These are Drought 3-style bars but delivered like a nursery rhyme. He takes a couple stabs at Birdman ("no more CMB shit"; "rippin' off my wings") and gets in this clever blowjob joke that riffs on its own delivery: "Lil Tune like Auto-Tune, I get in her throat and she harmonize." And then he goes off on this absolutely insane tear of consonance and repetition (to expand on the Biggie influence we were just talking about yesterday):
It's a must I expand, and flex on my ex-team
Have sex on my jet ski, text my chef, told 'em "Let's beef"
Changing girls, change is fine
She don't like girls, change her mind
Change the world, change my line
Never ever change my slimes
Changing looks, changing lies, changing skies, changing lanes
Me, Minaj, and Champagne changed the game
And y'all chump change
I'm just sayin'
Who cares what Nicki said about Remy? If we're looking for excitement in these songs, there's your mic drop moment right there!
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