Nicki Minaj may have taken the mixtape fiends' criticisms of her poppy debut album a little too personally. The first two tracks the now-actual Harajuku Barbie has shared from her upcoming follow-up, Valentine's Day release Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, have "Old Nicki" written all over them. That means maniacal, cartoonish rapping, with enough technical virtuosity to break through the macho defenses of old-fashioned hip-hop heads. What it doesn't mean, unfortunately, is more lighter-than-bubblegum pop brilliance of the kind that catapulted bonus track turned mega-hit "Super Bass" onto so many best song lists.
But even with the likes of young New York rapper Azealia Banks nipping at her (sky-high) heels, Nicki displays a degree of insanity that's difficult to match on new cut "Stupid Hoe," which follows no-hooks, no-bridge, no-third-verse "Roman in Moscow" as the latest batshit Roman Reloaded rhyme spree. We're burying the lede a little, in journalism parlance, but so does Nicki: Yes, "Stupid Hoe" confirms speculation the rapper will be performing alongside Madonna at the Super Bowl in February. But that braggadocious scoop — "2012, I'm at the Super Bowl!" — comes only after roughly two-and-a-half minutes of ear-piercing whistles, frenetic hand claps, and Minaj stretching out words like so much Silly Putty. And it's before she starts singing in a Caribbean cadence, or spitting the phrase "fuck a stupid hoe" like she's a rabid dog.
All in all, "Stupid Hoe" is another masterfully kooky display of Minaj's MC skills but there's a slightly disappointing "been there, done that" quality to this Nicki party. Even some of the choicest lines — "These bitches are my sons, and I don't want custody," repeated twice in Lil Wayne-weird goblin flow — hark back to her previous zingers. Plus, we really hope "Stupid Hoe" isn't Minaj's umpteenth Lil Kim diss, because that beef has been on the table too long.
Listen here, and buy the track on iTunes.