It's Ester Dean's moment. The Oklahoma native had a hit as a solo artist a couple of years ago with bass-heavy Polow Da Don production "Drop It Low," and she has songwriting credits on loads of hits (including Rihanna's "Rude Boy," Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know It All," and Beyoncé's 2011-conquering "Countdown"), but her career reached a new level with her featured vocal on Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday summer smash "Super Bass." As Dean prepares her debut album, she's turning to Minaj again for assistance.
They say time is money, but "Gimme Money" would, despite its title, prefer the former over the latter. Where Dean's new The Lorax soundtrack contribution, "Let It Grow," is quasi-inspirational dance-pop with sparkles of U2-style guitar, her latest collaboration with the Harajuku Barbie has a touch more hip-hop swagger to it, more closely resembling Dean's work with Rihanna. Pillowy synths, stuttering snares, and a swinging kick drum support her raspy declaration that "I can have anything that I want, but all I want is you." Minaj plays the tough, street-savvy one, weirdly referring to former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway in a verse she for some reason repeats twice, before equally inexplicably linking Hong Kong and sushi in another verse over an all-bass drone. That pan-Asian restaurant's cray!
All in all, it's a slick, professional production that could easily become a hit, though "Gimme Money" seemingly lacks that extra-distinctive quality makes a song like "Super Bass" so hard to forget. Dean's voice might actually be better served by a less conventional Top 40 production — though we feel embarrassed to say it, Macy Gray's "I Try" comes to mind — but let's at least hope this one grows bigger, faster than the saccharine Lorax track. When will movie makers learn you can't improve on Dr. Seuss?