Thursday, June 16, 2011

Femme Fatale Nicki Minaj: Five Great Featured Raps (with Lyrics!)

When it was announced that Britney Spears would be co-headlining a summer tour to support Femme Fatale with Enrique Iglesias, a collective "ugh" rose from Britney fans (and Enrique fans, I imagine) everywhere. Enrique, somewhat understandably, unleashed the diva within the "Dirty Dancer," pulled a hissy fit over the idea that he would be opening for Britney Spears (even though the first time this notion appeared - officially, anyway - was in Iglesias' explanation as to why he dropped out) and bailed.

Here's my theory on the whole matter, which I can present because I love my Britney and all ended well and no one cares what I think: Britney Spears, who admittedly dislikes promotional appearances and interviews (why spend months hobnobbing with the people who drove you to the psych ward...twice?), didn't want to carry an entire tour for Femme Fatale. Justin Timberlake recently told Vanity Fair that he could see himself doing at most one more tour in his lifetime, and he's a fit young go-getter with no wife or kids; Britney's a mom and bride-to-be, and let's not forget she's still not legally a person for most intents and purposes, and is likely riding a hefty regiment of anti-depressants and other such medications, so it's understandable. Plus, there was that trouble in Australia over lip synching in the Circus tour and Lady Gaga has been traipsing across the world bad-mouthing her (without naming names) long-held practice of lip-synching live performances, and the pressure would be on. But when Enrique fled, it was Spears' move, and she could choose virtually anyone short of Rihanna, Beyoncé or Katy Perry to open for her...ANYONE. She could do a shorter tour and make guaranteed millions and have as much fun as she wanted. Who could turn that opportunity down?

So Britney Spears decided to turn the Femme Fatale Tour into a girl-power blockbuster worthy of its title. It is no coincidence that her three opening acts are the ultimate feminist pop statements of 2011: Jessie and the Toy Boys, an act of role reversal centered around singer Jessie Malakouti while her Toy Boys dance behind her for a change; NERVO, a pair of hot Aussie twin DJs just breaking onto the dance scene as writers and producers; and the woman who has conquered the hip hop and pop scene like no other in history and whose debut album outsold 2010 releases from Kanye West, Lil' Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross and more - the incomparable Nicki Minaj. I'm not alone, I suspect, in thinking that lineup looks MUCH better than when it included the guy who sings "Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)."

As the Femme Fatale Tour kicks off this evening in Sacramento, I've provided the unenlightened with introductions to Jessie and the Toy Boys and NERVO, but of course Nicki Minaj needs no introduction. Instead, I've gathered my five favorite Nicki Minaj feature raps from my library (since that's really where the surreptitiously brilliant writer/performer, born Onika Maraj, shines artistically, despite the solo stuff thus far, IMHO) to celebrate (and at times explicate) the genius of rhyme and reference with a tendency to make just about anything on which she appears several times better, or at least more fascinating. (Ed. Note - The fantastic website RapGenius is an indispensable resource of reliable wiki-annotated rap lyrics. 11/28/12)

And just because it's particularly entirely relevant, we'll begin with her appearance on the "Femme Fatale Remix" (or as I call it, the "fuck, it worked for Rihanna" remix) of "Till the World Ends," where frankly, Nicki sounds like she might have been the one to whip Britney into shape:

"Till the World Ends (The Femme Fatale Remix)" (Britney Spears feat. Nicki Minaj & Ke$ha)

Chimpanzees is hatin’ but I take it all in stride.
Put her in a jungle with bananas on the side!
Told you they’d revive your career, but somebody lied.
I ain't talking poultry when I say this chicken’s friiiiiiiiiied

Anyway Britney, why they so jealous that you teamed up with me?
Tell ‘em they my son, yup, yellin' "Mama pick me!"
Anyway, burned brutale
Whats that? I don’t know, boy, 
Femmes Fatales.

I done slayed your whole entire fucking life.
Oh oh, you got some Epson Salt?
I done balled all day, you ain't left the court!
What you tired? You need a break?
You was hot - when? 
Ricki Lake!

*Trivia: The Ricki Lake Show ran from 1993-2004

"Lollipop Luxury" (Jeffree Star feat. Nicki Minaj, Cupcakes Taste Like Violence)

This remix of gender-bending pop personality Jeffree Star's "Lollipop Luxury" was a fun find (and another six degrees-style link with Ke$ha; here's why), with a rather young-sounding Minaj obviously added in quite a bit later. It's pretty tame for Nicki standards (and Jeffree Star standards, for that matter) but it works.

I'm a super super star on Hollywood Boulevard
And I can make all of the boys come to my yard.
You see, Jeffree, I can show you how to do it;
Make, make a lollipop squirt, squirt a lot of fluid.
My lip gloss, lip gloss... Me and all my sick thoughts.
I'm such a bad bitch, I get ME pissed off.
I'm really hot, really pretty...
I'm into licking lollipops 'til they're sticky.
I can make them say Nicki...
I'm a celebrity.

"Woohoo" (Christina Aguilera feat. Nicki Minaj, Bionic)

Say what you will, I'm not no longer ashamed to go public with my love for this track from Christina Aguilera's much-maligned Bionic. "Woohoo" (co-written by Ester Dean, who wrote and is featured on Minaj's current single "Super Bass") was originally planned as a followup single to "Not Myself Tonight," but when that one tanked Aguilera's camp hurled out "You Lost Me," no doubt attempting in vain to "Beautiful" the album from flopping. It flopped, Christina started drinking after her movie did the same, she got divorced, got fat, forgot the lyrics to the National Anthem, got arrested (well, her boytoy did), landed on The Voice, and is most likely working on her genius comeback album as we speak (more on that later). Bionic, meanwhile, is aging surprisingly well.

O-okay, guess who got that (mm-mm) nani-nani
In the Mondrian (mm-mm) in Miami
Whiz Galliano, whip-whip the Armani
In the drip-drip, lick-lick like a lolly
Or, left from Jamaica, go a foreign pan tour
Jimmy Iovine, Tom Whalley and Lyor
Keep me and Chrissy in Christian Dior
But that was before...

Or, for you:
My name Nicki, little daddy, and you?
You can do anything you put your mind to
Way you French kiss it, "français parlez vous"
Way you work your tongue can I hire you?

*Trivia: Jimmy Iovine is chairman at Interscope/Geffen, while Tom Whalley and Lyor Cohen are the former and current heads of Warner Music, respectively (Cohen started at Def Jam).

"Where Dem Girls At" (David Guetta feat. Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj)

I love this guest spot on David Guetta's club hit, which also features Flo Rida, because it's ridiculous. As is the song.

P-B, P-B, who is Peabo Bryson?
Two years ago i renewed my license.
Anyway why’d I start my verse like that?
You could suck a dick or you could suck on a ball sack.
No, no, I don’t endorse that;
P-p-pause that; a-a-abort that.
Just the other day we were in London, saw that
Chasing down the street, paparazzi, all that.
Hey-hey what can I say? day-da-da-day na-nay-na-na-nay
Coming through the club all the girls in the back of me
This ain’t football, why the fuck they tryin'-a tackle me?
Really? I peeped dude at the bar (like really?)
Looking like he want a good time (like really?)
Said he got a friend for my homegirl Lily, Lily, Lily...
*Trivia: Peabo Bryson, among other things, is an early-'90s singer who sang the pop versions of "Beauty and the Beast" and "A Whole New World."

"Monster" (Kanye West feat. Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)

Of course, Nicki Minaj's greatest rap to date is unquestionably the one she supposedly wrote while on a plane to Hawaii to record it with Rick Ross: her schizophrenic, masterfully rhymed and rapped master class that put Bon Iver, Jay-Z and Kanye West to shame, on "Monster."

Pull up in the monster automobile gangsta
With a bad bitch that came from Sri Lanka
Yeah I’m in that Tonka, color of Willy Wonka                     
You could be the King, but watch the Queen conquer.
Ok, first things first I’ll eat your brains
Then I’ma start rocking gold teeth and fangs
'Cause that’s what a motherfuckin' monster do
Hairdresser from Milan, that's the monster 'do
Monster Giuseppe heel, that’s the monster shoe
Young Money is the roster and the monster crew
And I pull up, pull up, pull up in the bank with a funny face
And if I’m fake I ain't notice cause MY MONEY AIN'T
Let me get this straight: wait, I’m the rookie
But my features and my shows ten times your pay?
$50k for a verse, no album out?
Yeah my money’s so tall that my Barbie’s gotta climb it
Hotter than a middle eastern climate. Find it. 
Tony Matterhorn Dutty Wine it, while it 
"Nicki" on them titties when I sign it
How these niggas so one-track minded?

But really really I don’t give a F-U-C-K
"Forget Barbie; fuck Nicki - she’s fake!
She on a diet but my pockets eating cheesecake"
And I’ll say Bride of Chucky is Child’s Play
Just killed another career; it’s a mild day.
Besides, ‘Ye, they can’t stand besides me
I think me, you and Am should ménage Friday!
Pink wig, thick ass, give 'em whiplash;
I think big, get cash, make 'em blink fast
Now look at what you just saw!
This is what you live for!
I’m a motherfucking monster!

*Trivia: Giuseppe Zanotti is a famed shoe designer; Tony Matterhorn, or "Dutty Wine," is a famous dancehall artist; "Am" refers to Kanye's on-again, off-again girlfriend Amber Rose. Bride of Chucky is the fourth film in the Child's Play horror film series, based on homicidal dolls (a play on Minaj's Barbie motif: she calls her fans "Barbz;" Maraj's previous alter ego (before Nicki Minaj) was named "Harajuku Barbie;" Minaj is styled like a Barbie doll on the cover of her debut album, Pink Friday).

Meet the other badass ladies of the Femme Fatale Tour:

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