After a long hiatus, Nicki Minaj is back with two solo releases which dropped last Thursday; “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz.” Both songs debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 after one day of streaming. After a few years of strictly sticking to feature songs, Minaj is back and here to remind everyone that she isn’t messing around.
Minaj hasn’t released an album since “The Pinkprint” in 2014, but she’s been featured on a lot of songs since then, most recently Yo Gotti’s “Rake It Up” and Migos’ “Motorsport.”
"Barbie Tingz" earned 4.2 million streams in the U.S. last week according to Nielsen Music, while "Chun-Li" earned 3.5 million streams. Minaj returned from a four-month social media break to announce the singles would drop on April 10.
“Chun-Li,” which is named after a character from the popular video game series “Street Fighter,” gives us a taste of Minaj’s badass and ruthless side. Minaj compares herself to the character “Chun-Li,” who is often credited as one of the first female video game characters to be portrayed not as a background character or damsel in distress, but as a heroine seeking revenge for her father’s death. Minaj, similarly, has challenged common female stereotypes and made her way to the top of a male-dominated genre.
In the song, Minaj explains how she’s worked her way up to the top and even name-drops other strong female fictional characters such as Lara Croft and Storm from “X-Men.” In one verse, Minaj raps, “They need rappers like me / So they can grab their f***ing keyboards and make me the bad guy / Chun-Li.” This is a reference to all the online hate and disses Minaj has received throughout her career. Most recently, Minaj has been pitted against Cardi B, and the two allegedly had a feud over a verse in “Motorsport,” which both rappers are featured on. Despite everything appearing to be a miscommunication, the internet has repeatedly come after Minaj.
“Barbie Tingz” radiates Minaj’s unparalleled confidence. She uses the song to remind everyone she’s the best in the game and isn’t holding back. She also seems to throw shade at other rappers, saying, “Let's be real, all you b***hes wanna look like me/ Wanna be in demand, get booked like me/ Wanna run up in the lab and cook like me.” It’s pretty clear Minaj is here to silence everyone talking her down.
Both “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz” are really in your face, with up-and-coming female rappers like Cardi making their way into the spotlight, Nicki clearly feels the need to assert her dominance.
Personally, I love Nicki’s confidence, but these singles aren’t her best. Compared to the raw emotion and the deeper look into her personal life we got with “The Pinkprint,” these singles just seem to lack some of that emotion. They are definitely more cold and ruthless, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes I like seeing the more vulnerable, honest side of Nicki.
These singles are the first to be released from Minaj’s upcoming fourth studio album currently in the works. Minaj is also set to perform on the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” May 19.
Melissa Scrivani is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.