On Friday morning, Nicki Minaj's new single "Anaconda" hit the Internet ahead of its scheduled release date, and unfortunately, the response to the track hasn't been great. Sampling Sir Mix-a-Lot's now iconic hit, "Baby Got Back," "Anaconda" is a frenetic club track that celebrates...wait for it...big butts! I mean, it makes sense. Last week, Minaj debuted the song's controversial cover art online, which prominently features her backside. What doesn't make sense, however, is why Minaj selected the busy, not especially original, and sort of problematic "Anaconda" as the second single from her upcoming third studio album, The Pink Print, in the first place. Curious, indeed.
Originally, "Anaconda" was set to premiere this past Monday, but at the last minute, Minaj decided to push the release date back, assuring her fans on Twitter that they would "understand why" soon. (Presumably, Minaj just didn't want "Anaconda" to steal any thunder from "Bang Bang," her fantastic collaboration with Jessie J and Ariana Grande.) Minaj adopts a slow and deliberate flow on the otherwise manic "Anaconda," describing to listeners how two different men appreciated her derriere (among other things) in the bedroom. In that way, the song actually reminds me a lot of Lil' Kim's "How Many Licks?" (a comparison most Minaj fans won't like).
One of my biggest issues with "Anaconda" is that it owes so much of its catchiness and replay factor to "Baby Got Back" — which was, you know, already a number-one hit back in 1992! Minaj and the song's producers haven't done much to transform or repurpose the Sir Mix-a-Lot samples, and they totally dominate the track. Sadly, Twitter reactions to "Anaconda" haven't been kind...
After The Pink Print's lead single, "Pills N Potions," failed to make a significant impact on the charts, my fingers were crossed that Minaj would come back with something much stronger than "Anaconda." Still, with an eye-catching music video, I could definitely see the song going viral and becoming a hit — even with its potentially offensive lyrics. After all, 22 years later, people still love "Baby Got Back" — despite the fact that it essentially dehumanizes women by reducing them to nothing more than a collection of body parts that exist solely for men to ogle. You know, despite all that. The song also glorifies one specific body type above all others, (*sarcasm*) but it's just so catchy and quotable! (/*sarcasm*)
Sadly, "Anaconda" is similarly problematic. At the end of the track, Minaj cackles and repeats variations of the phrase, "Fuck those skinny bitches." Huh. It seems incredibly misguided for Minaj to celebrate her own figure while simultaneously shaming and tearing down other bodies, but like I said, I doubt that will prevent "Anaconda" from becoming a success. I'm still looking forward to The Pink Print, but I'm not especially impressed by what I've heard so far. Hopefully, Minaj will be able to turn things around soon.
"Anaconda" will be released on iTunes on Monday, August 4.
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