Nicki Minaj (whose real name is Onika Maraj) has come a very long way since her infamous “Super Bass” track back in 2011. Minaj was one of the first female rappers to break the sexist and misogynistic tone that a majority of rap and rappers follow – by simply singing as sexually as her male counterparts. Of course, a lot of her music as been deemed as “inappropriate” or “crude” or even “disgusting”, but Minaj has always emphasised how women are often judged for singing about embracing their sexuality or talking about their sexual endeavours, while men are celebrated for them. So, it appears she it took it upon herself to change that notion – and “Barbie Dreams” does just that.
“Barbie Dreams” is Minaj’s personal rendition of rapper The Notorious B.I.G.’s recrd “Just Playing (Dreams). In the original version, B.I.G. sings about his love and desire for renowned female R&B singers at the time. In Minaj’s version it’s the polar opposite: she calls out and jokingly insults today’s most popular male athletes and artists. From rapper Drake to professional boxer Mike Tyson, Minaj pokes fun at an array of male celebrities. “Drake worth a hundred milli, he always buyin’ me sh*t”, or “had to cancel DJ Khaled, boy, we ain’t speakin'”, are some of the few famous faces she mentions. The chorus consists of Minaj’s version of “Just Playing (Dreams)” chorus, singing about how she dreams of being intimate with the rappers she just mentioned.
Needless to say, the song was met with some backlash. Minaj took to twitter to emphasise the all the individuals she called out and talked about in the song were all people she knew well and was close to, so there no pain intended by it, simply “light hearted fun”.
For most part of the song, the backing track is the same as the “Just Playing (Dreams)” track, until the last verse of the song where the beat completely changes to an upbeat, almost chaotic one – a more traditional demonstration of today’s rap and hip-hop music scene.
The music video is directed as well as produced by Hype Williams, who took a fairly simple approach with the visually depicting song. The song and Minaj are introduced by a Sesame Street-style puppet welcoming everyone to the song, with the automated clapping sound you often hear on pre recorded television shows. The rest of the song shows Nicki Minaj in an array of colourful outfits, hair and backgrounds, singing along to the song with an occasional puppet in her hand. The video was released on the 140th September 2018, and has already gained over 15 million views in less than a week.
Release Date: 14th August 2018
Songwriter/s: Onika Maraj, Rashad Smith, Melvin Hough II, Rivelino Raoul Wouter, Christopher Smith, James Brown & Fred Wesley
Album: Queen (2018)
Producers: Mel and Mus, Ringo
Label: Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records
Music Video Release Date: 10th September 2018
Music Video Producer: Hype Williams, Keith Brown
Music Video Director: Hype Williams