It’s official: Nicki Minaj is back.
The rapper debuted two new tracks today on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 radio show: “Barbie Tingz” and “Chun-Li.” The last track we heard from Minaj was her Quavo collab “She For Keeps,” and she’s been featured on tons of songs over the course of the past year from artists like Future, Katy Perry, Lil Uzi Vert, Fergie, Migos … the list goes on.
Before releasing the new singles, Minaj sat down for a chat with Lowe. She was wearing a bun (presumably the same hairstyle you can see in the “Chun-Li” artwork above) and shared the news that she has an album on the way, her first since 2014’s The Pinkprint. Minaj claims that it is the best she’s ever released. She talked to Lowe about her decision to take some space from social media. “When I was making mixtapes, I didn’t have Instagram,” she said, asserting that being too plugged in made it hard for her to work on new music.
Minaj and Lowe also chatted about her fraught relationship with Drake. The two apparently fight like an “old married couple,” and Minaj briefly touched on the ways her relationship with Meek Mill affected the friendship. She recalled one thing in particular that Drake said to her: “I wasn’t worried about anything in that entire situation other than what if Nicki takes a shot at me. Then what? What if Nicki spits a bar at me?” Lowe brought up Meek’s current legal situation, and Minaj was hesitant to talk about it.
“What I will say now is that … I will say that the judge in question did everything I asked of her. So, I can’t badmouth her because I met her personally, and I know what she said to us. And he knows that, and I know that. But I wouldn’t wish jail on anybody,” Minaj said. “What made me shed tears the other day was seeing his mother cry … She, during the relationship, was always so sweet to me.” Minaj is working on a documentary that will be released on Apple Music and apparently it delves into the Meek situation more.
Minaj shouted out a few of her collaborators, including the hitmaking songwriter Starrah. Minaj didn’t reveal any of the album’s featured artists and didn’t share the LP title or release date. The first song she played was “Chun-Li,” and Minaj quashed rumors that it contains a Cardi B diss verse, saying she wrote the song over a year ago, though she did say that she felt “ambushed” when she read one of Cardi’s interviews that talked “Motor Sport.” “I remember when I first came in the game … I would only be singing their praises and saying thank you … The first interview she did, it just hurt me because she looked so aggravated and angry. She just kept saying she didn’t hear it … I was like, ‘What?’”
Minaj continued to discuss Quavo’s involvement in the “Motor Sport” drama, which she outlined on Twitter in November of last year. She says Quavo texted her asking if it’d be OK to put Cardi on the song and Minaj agreed to it. When Migos shared a preview of the video, fans speculated as to why Minaj wasn’t in the clip. Minaj says she had a scheduling conflict and Quavo wouldn’t “clear the air.”
“And you still did interviews just to paint Nicki as the bad person. And play the victim. And that really, really hurt me because I really fully supported [Cardi B],” Minaj said. “And up until this recent interview she did, I had never seen her show love in an interview. And I can only imagine how many girls wished they could’ve been on a song with Nicki Minaj.”
Listen to “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz” below.
Check out a teaser for the “Barbie Tingz” video: