“Okay, first things first, I eat your brains.” That’s Nicki Minaj in her climactic verse on “Monster,” the latest track transmitted directly from Kanye West to the internet. The song will be part of the upcoming Jay-Z and Kanye West “5 song album” entitled Watch the Throne. Here we have the most famous rappers in the world, Rick Ross 2010, West, Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj (plus Bon Iver) — oh, and M.I.A.’s husband, Benjamin Bronfman, on “tribal voices” — discussing: Napoleon Dynamite, weight problems, love, cannibalism and using the word sarcophagus.
There is a lot going on here.
West is calling it G.O.O.D. Friday, in which he releases a G.O.O.D. Music-affiliated track every week from now until Christmas. We heard previously Kanye’s “Power (Remix)” featuring Jay-Z (also presumably from “Watch the Throne”), who along with Swizz Beatz, expounded on West’s budding prog-rap sound.
Now, it’s “Monster,” which launches with Bon Iver (né Justin Vernon) sounding soulful, or at least that would be the word were he not so layered and distorted, rumbling alongside growls and screams. There’s more Kanye/Justin to come. Rick Ross is gifted 10 seconds on the song, in which he manages to call himself a “fat motherfucker,” before Kanye West, in full spazz mode, quotes comedy from 2004.
Jay mourns the lack of love in his life, playing again this “look what you made me,” Godfather II, kill-my-brothers-because-they’ve-only-let-me-down, bitter old man part. He sounds strained.
And then it’s Nicki, all fangs and ass and untraceable accents, delivering the song’s longest verse and sticking to her subject matter, but this time all in one place. It’s the culmination of her work so far; she’s surrounded by rap’s brightest and still shining — blinding, really — just trying so damn hard. Like the song (and “Power (Remix)” before it), Minaj is almost incoherent, but endearing in her efforts. Or: “can we just talk about Nicki’s verse???????!!!!!!!!! I toooooooooooooooold yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallll!!!!!!!!!!!!”