Last week Nicki Minaj was everywhere, from a Google doodle to perched atop the Statue of Liberty to being launched into space – with the help of Photoshop, of course.
An image of Minaj in sneakers, itty-bitty pink bikini and striking a pose that emphasized her backside as the cover art to her latest single, "Anaconda," became a meme with a myriad of versions dominating social media chatter for days.
And over the weekend Minaj dialed things up with an Internet-winning one-two punch.
First, Minaj and Beyoncé issued a surprise remix to the pop diva's feminist anthem "Flawless."
On the collaboration, released late Saturday without warning, Minaj not only delivered a return to form guest verse but she inspired the singer to unleash a venomous flow packed with instantly-viral lines.
"Of course sometimes . . . go down / When it's a billion dollars on an elevator," Beyoncé raps, referencing the infamous scuffle between her sister Solange and husband, Jay Z, that shattered the couple's pristine image and spawned endless rumors and headlines about an impending split.
A possible slight toward Drake, calling Minaj by her birth name and general diva muscle-flexing also added to Bey's cool.
But Minaj used her guest spot to remind detractors – and, more than likely, put a certain rising Australian rapper on alert -- that "winning is my [expletive] protocol."
The verse, delivered with dizzying urgency, showed Minaj even closer to the swagger she displayed on her game-changing verse on Kanye West's "Monster" years ago.
But Minaj wasn't finished yet. Before the weekend was over she unleashed another surprise: A new single, "Anaconda."
Originally set for Monday -- she bumped its previous July release to make room for the "Flawless" sneak attack – Minaj didn't let the chatter from "the queen of rap slaying with Queen B" to die down before she released "Anaconda."
Appropriately built around a sample of Sir Mix-a-Lot's career-defining hit "Baby Got Back" (the line "My anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hon" gets major play here), Minaj crafted an ode to her famous, and often controversial, bottom.
While her ambitions to balance straight rapping with pop have yielded mixed results (previous single, "Pills N Potions" deftly paired the two, but failed to take off), "Anaconda" is Minaj harnessing the spitfire, explicit flow that turned listeners on to her.
The single is packed with glorious praise of her rump. There are also hilarious, and completely unprintable, references to romaine lettuce, NyQuil and apt usage of the "Oh my gosh, look at her butt" line that opened "Baby Got Back."
"Anaconda" is both a throwback to the playful, dirty and brash gems that dotted the 90s from a handful of female rap heavyweights and another reminder of why we first tuned into what Minaj had to say.