“You get high, love a bunch of girls,” Cassie coos on “The Boys,” the first single from Nicki Minaj’s November re-release, Pink Friday Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up. In the “explicit” video for that song, which just hit Vevo today, “love” turns to “fuck” — of course — and the boys are a groveling afterthought. Shot by “I Am Your Leader” director Colin Tilley in an imaginary neighborhood in Los Angeles in September, the clip melds cartoonish hyper-sexuality with a murderous rampage fantastically enough that it makes Christina Aguilera’s recent femme-fatale “Your Body” clip look peaceful and almost prudish.
Outlandishly and revealingly attired, the Mariah Carey-feuding American Idol host and the resurgent “King of Hearts” R&B ice queen lip-synch outside a fictitious cotton-candy store as pink-suited men fall over themselves like PSY passing a yoga class. A hair salon, a go-kart of some sort, and a puffy pink room where Minaj and Cassie dance suggestively with each other also factor into the clip for this sugary electro-pop rework of Cassie’s aborted “Money on Love” single, complete with a robotic pre-chorus that recalls Daft Punk’s “Technologic.” You can’t spell barbershop without Barb(z), and it’s no spoiler to say that the follicular flame-thrower mayhem promised in the opening newspaper headlines is, um, not a joke.
Remember when you’d hear a new Nicki verse and have to rewind to figure out what was going on? Yeah. This video is kind of like that. Come to think of it, the song, too, is a hybrid between the light, buoyant pop of Minaj’s biggest hit to date, “Super Bass,” and her old, unhinged guest and mixtape appearances. Old Nicki and new Nicki, together at last, making everyone her sons.
Will it catch on in the same way? Well, Nicki’s cameo in Justin Bieber’s promotional stunt “Beauty and a Beat” helped him break One Direction’s record for most Vevo streams in 24 hours, netting 10.6 million views. So there’s that.
Minaj teased her “The Boys” video with a behind-the-scenes featurette earlier this month, which you can also watch below.