Nicki Minaj's New Single Would Be Better With More Nicki

“Only” — the new Nicki Minaj single whose cover artwork is right in time for Halloween — has arrived. And the moral of the song (featuring Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown) is: You can’t sit with us. Unless you’re real, bad, rich, independent, boss or thick.

Nicki is at peak Nicki aggression on this song from her upcoming album, The Pinkprint, the release date of which was just pushed back to December 15. But there’s not enough Nicki Minaj on this Nicki Minaj single; just one verse. The pitter-patter beat is nothing spectacular, less of a hard knock and more of a creepy, moderate pounding production that was split between Dr. Luke, Cirkut and J Mike. Listen below.

After “Pills N Potions” (which I liked) and the divisive “Anaconda,” “Only” is a song that should satisfy most of her disparate fanbase. Her opening line doubles as an official statement on her love life (those rumors about her dating Drake and Wayne) and an advocacy for booty eating: “I never fucked Wayne, I never fucked Drake/ All my life, for fuck sake/ If I did, I’d menage with them and let ’em eat my ass like a cupcake.” So she basically debunks the assumption that she screwed her way to the top and then flips it into some sexual imagery of her being pleasured, which is bold.

Both Drake and Wayne corroborate here that they “never fucked Nicki,” but Drake is a little more gentlemanly with it. His reasoning is because “she got a man” and Wayne’s is: “I never fucked Nicki and that’s fucked up. If I did fuck, she would be fucked up.” Swap out Wayne’s verse for more Nicki bars and I’m happy.

Notably, too, Nicki is still rapping about mothering other women: “These girls are my sons/Jon & Kate, Plus 8.”

Drake comes in with a more playful verse and sounds like he’s cracking himself up mid-punchline. He also gives a backhanded endorsement of big women: “She say I’m obsessed with thick women and I agree/ That’s right, I like my girls BBW/ Type that wanna suck you dry and then eat some lunch with you.” So charming.

Chris Brown’s slick half-sung/half-rapped style has made him one of the hook men of the moment, so his presence makes sense here, but I’m a little tired of the “no new friends” trope in hip-hop. While Nicki is always in this weird state of flux when it comes to honoring her street sensibility and her love of sheeny pop anthems, public consensus seems to lean toward the former and so does “Only.” I’ll be replaying it, but I’m hoping Nicki finds the right equilibrium on Pinkprint.

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