Album: Young Money: Rise of An Empire
Label: Young Money/Cash Money/Republic
Producer: Detail

You can't please all people all of the time. Just ask Nicki Minaj. After notching platinum plaques with albums and singles thought too poppy and too commercial by many in the rap community, Nicki pledged to, at least for a period of time, make music for the fans who boosted her profile when he she was just a mixtape maven from Southside Queens. In other words, she promised to get back on her rappity rap shit. She graced a few hits—YG's "My Nigga" remix and Young Thug's "Danny Glover"—delivering verses reminiscent of her shining moment on Kanye West's "Monster." Those were great, but fans still wished for a song of her own that showed she was serious about "returning to her roots." "Lookin' Ass" was that song.

The Detail-produced beat for the Young Money Rise of an Empire compilation was sparse and foreboding. It was perfect for Nicki to rep for the women who are constantly on the receiving end of verbal thrashings; the ones who are always reminded that they're easy to cut off, that they're not loyal, and, also, not shit. This was Nicki's response. Many took issue with the liberal use of the word "nigga," but, hey, you have to fight fire with fire. We can't applaud the use of flagrant language in others and fault Nicki for doing the same because, as some claim, young white girls are now her audience. As if nothing but black kids are bumping Young Thug. Others heard this and still hoped for a return of the "mixtape Nicki," as if she was ever rapping better than this:

Bitch, I'm me
Hundred on the wrist, I ski
Art on the wall, Basquiat
Fuck who see
Look at you fake dope dealers,
I know real niggas who really be moving weight in them villas
Talkin' about kis, say its kis in the van
But he really move grams and he split it with his man

She spit those bars as if the beat was tied to her tongue. People will say Nicki can't be considered one of the greatest rappers because her rap catalog isn't yet large enough. I call bullshit. When Nicki does rap, you can count on one hand the rappers who can best her, and you'd still have two fingers left. Consider us pleased. —Damien Scott