Nicki Minaj's strength has been her ability to pair her pop sensibilities with her raw, underground rap roots.
On her new single, "The Boys," the pop-rap minx has seamlessly married the two styles, perhaps in hopes of highlighting the rerelease of her sophomore disc, "Pink Friday Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up" (due in November).
"The Boys," the reissue's first single, pairs the bawdy rapper with R&B songstress Cassie (known less for her music and more for her long-rumored romance with labelhead Diddy) for the track. It's a fun but pithy kiss-off to men who try to buy love with money and jewels.
The single is a fresh reminder of the Minaj tracks her rap fans love. Many of those same admirers feared her street style was taking a backseat to pop songs dedicated to 128-beats-per-minute (i.e. most of the tracks that bogged down the second half of "Pink Friday Roman Reloaded.")
"Your lipstick stain smells like a cheap hotel, diamond watches and a gold chain can't make my frown turn around. The boys always spending all they money on love," Cassie purrs before Minaj unleashes a venomous hook about playboy suitors that "want to touch it, taste it, see it, pet it, ... it, own it."
The throbbing beat, harsh basslines and hyperactive breaks beg for immediate radio play. Minaj's crisp, rapid-fire delivery and punchy one-liners – bonus points for her "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta" and "Blossom" drops – set up Cassie's smoldering ego crusher of a chorus.
A version of the track, rumored to be the second single from Cassie's severely delayed sophomore set, leaked several months ago.
"You get high, love a bunch of girls, and then cry on top of the world, I hope you have the time of your life," Cassie sings. "I hope I don't lose it tonight."
Sorry, Roman, this Minaj needs to come out and play more often.
Listen to "The Boys" below: