(Guest Spots That Steal The Spotlight)
Nicki Minaj on Keri Hilson’s “Get Your Money Up (Remix)”
Nicki Minaj has been on a fucking tear lately. In the last few months she’s unleashed some of the best featured verses of her career on tracks like “Tapout,” “Danny Glover (Remix),” and “My Nigga (Remix).” And given Nicki’s extremely strong track record, that’s really saying something. Recently though, she’s sounded the hungriest she’s been since her “Monster"-feature days. It’s giving me hope that her upcoming record The Pink Print will wind up being the 110% rap lioness record that she’s had the potential to make her whole career.
So, in honor of Nicki’s recent scene-stealing supporting turns, let’s revisit a colossal verse from yesteryear: her feature on an officially unreleased remix of Keri Hilson’s track “Get Your Money Up,”1 which is full of stuff that I absolutely love.
If you’ve looked at this blog before, you know that I’m a sucker for rap/basketball crossovers, and this track includes one of Nicki’s best hoops metaphors.2 She describes her collaboration with Hilson and fellow featured player Keyshia Cole as a fast break, saying “Keri steal / Keyshia pass / Nicki on the alley-oop” line. Also, that line contains a fantastic bent rhyme of “value” and “alley-oop” which plays off both of the vowels sounds in each of those words.
Nicki’s assonance is absolutely on point in this track as a whole, too. Later, she throws in a subtle repetition of sounds when she references a “Starbucks hazelnut vanilla frappuchino" by emphasizing the short u sound at the end of the first two words. That emphasis, and the fact that she doesn’t hit her end consonants on those words, turn them into a sorta kinda maybe interior rhyme. It also helps enforce the rhythm of her flow by adding a little extra wallop to her emphasized syllables. That’s what I think makes Nicki a truly great rapper: she can quietly slip rather impressive flourishes like that into relatively unimportant lines.
Also she references Darkwing Duck in the last line, so four-year-old me is super impressed / hyped.
If you enjoy this track as much as I clearly do, you can download it here.
1. It’s really unclear as to what this version of the track actually is, aside from the fact that it was never officially released. The original version of it can be found on Keri’s debut album, In A Perfect World… That iteration of the song was very similar to this one, except it had a slightly different bassline and a (cough cough vastly inferior cough) Trina verse instead of Nicki’s. I’ve been unable to find any official declaration of what this track is, so it might be a remix or a rejected alternate version or something else entirely.
2. Nicki mentions basketball all the time in her lyrics, and not just vague general knowledge stuff. Her verse on “My Nigga (Remix)” features several lines of wordplay that’s based around Chris Paul’s then recent shoulder injury. Someone should really interview her about basketball. I’d love to read / watch / listen to that.
"Sports and rap and sports and rap and sports and rap and sports and rap and sports and rap and sports and rap and sports and rap and sports and rap and sports and rap and sports,” said TWG.