Perhaps your outrage entry point into “Only,” the Pinkprint track Nicki Minaj dropped yesterday, was Chris Brown. Before you heard Brown relegated to hook-boy status within Nicki’s hip-hop power shift, maybe you questioned why she would bring in such a divisive character (who doesn’t even get to be in the single artwork). But once you’ve actually heard the song, Brown’s tame vocal contributions are far from the takeaway. I lost my goddamn mind the first four times I listened to “Only,” for four different reasons. And that’s exactly the point. The song is catnip for the kinds of listeners who read rap verses and trust them as accurate representations of the stars who recite them, instead of what they sometimes are: juicy stories.
With Nicki Minaj, however, it never seems to be quite that simple, particularly in recent months. This was the angle of her recent GQ profile, in which the writer spends the majority of the piece wondering just how hard meme queen Minaj was trolling her by being evasive about the sexual power dynamics within “Anaconda.” We saw flashes of calculated motivation, enough to keep some convinced that Minaj has bigger statements in mind when she gives Drake a lap dance or chops up a banana in a music video. “Only” has no shortage of lines to read into, but there are four instances that troll hard, demanding responses from listeners.
1. C’mon, Drake does not like fat women.
How do I know this? I could tell you it’s cuz I’m fat and there’s a circulating list of famous people who prefer big bodies in the privacy of their homes, but I don’t need to even check the list.
First Drake talks about how much he wants Nicki, how he’s never had her and fantasizes about the ways in which they would “do it quietly,” since she’s with someone else. Then Drake segues into a verse in which he alludes to doing things with big girls on the sly vs. in public. These are the kinds of issues that come up among men who maybe want to fuck a fat girl but maybe don’t want to be seen with her in public, due to perception of status. “She [Nicki] says I’m obsessed with thick women and I agree,” Drake brags, chuckling the whole way through it. “That’s right, I like my girls BBW [slang for Big Beautiful Women]/ The type that wanna suck you dry and then eat some lunch with you/ Yeah, so thick that everybody else in the room is so uncomfortable/ Ass on Houston, Texas, but the face look just like Claire Huxtable.”
Generally, fat women are hyper-aware of men who don’t want to be seen with them in public — it’s a warning sign of a closeted FA (fat admirer). So for Drake to address this idea of making others uncomfortable with his lover’s size is incredibly real and a bit more nuanced than his perpetuation of rumors regarding fat women giving good head (we’re just soooo hungry). This is BBW 101, the kind of thing perpetuated by BroBible and dudes who still refer to fat women as “BBWs” because that’s how they’re categorized on porn sites. I’ve heard just a few men who actually date — like, in public — fat women refer to them as BBWs, but most have the decency not to use the term because of all its implications of fetish, rather than mere subjective preference.
Maybe Drake thinks his BBW shout-out seems exotic, or makes him seem charitable. A hard dick is neither of those things, ever. Drake does not like fat women, just like Jason Derulo does not like 250-pound women just because he sings about backing up a “big fat butt” in “Wiggle.” It is understood by listeners what these men mean: selective fatness, thickness in all the right places — shockingly so, like Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose, or Nicki. So to the staff of Hot 97, who went apeshit discussing BBWs yesterday morning, slow your roll — you just been trolled.
2. Drake and Nicki want us to keep ‘shipping’ them.
Think of all the times Drake and Nicki forced listeners to consider if they’ve not only had sex, but had a relationship. It’s not just the palpable sexual tension exhibited in the final minute of the “Anaconda” video — it’s the wedding scene in her “Moment 4 Life” video. This is the stuff of hip-hop fairytales: Lil Wayne’s two most successful proteges are soulmates, and Nicki wears the pants. The first part of Drake’s verse, on which he brags about being first in line when Minaj becomes single, is egging on more than just a hook-up between the two.
3. Nicki dares listeners to be shocked: she never slept with Drake or Wayne.
It’s none of our business and doesn’t change a thing either way — Nicki raps circles around them both, she didn’t fuck her way to the top — but it is powerful for her to make sure her listeners know that. Still, it remains a point of argument since Wayne’s and Drake’s verses find them wanting her still, even plotting the ways they’d do it. Nicki maintains control in these relationships, even with her mentor and her male contemporary.
4. Wait, Nicki has a boyfriend?!
Well, look who just caught up. The tabloid rumors are this: her longtime hypeman/collaborator/assistant Safaree Samuels is also her longtime beau. This hearsay has amplified in recent months, with the Fader asking Minaj directly about in their cover story this summer. “I mention that there are new tabloid rumors that she and Samuels were recently engaged, and she stares straight ahead for several moments, expressionless, as though she’s trying to will the question away,” the story reads. Drake and Wayne both reference Nicki’s status as a woman who has long been off limits. Whether that means Samuels, someone else, or Nicki’s own personal George Glass created to troll the listener, the guarded Minaj wants us to specifically know this fact — and perhaps freak out about this fact.