Nicki Minaj, perhaps hip hop’s most polarizing figure, drops the video for her sing-songy “Right By My Side,” featuring one of R&B’s most polarizing figures, Chris Brown. It’s essentially a semi-typical sounding Nicki Minaj (the R&B singer) joint, with Nicki Minaj (the rapper) spitting on the break. Nothing groundbreaking, but nothing horrendous either. Queens makes a heavy appearance in the video as Nas stars as Nicki’s slightly-more-than-platonic-love-interest-slash-sugar-daddy-slash-kissy-facer.
The song? Eh. Mildly catchy, standard fare R&B. Nothing impressive. But certainly not as a) experimental or b) absurd as some of Nicki Minaj’s less-than-stellar expressions of Romansanity. Her verse? It’s not “Monster, ” but her alliteration and cadence, switching between vocal personalities, reminds those who insist that Nicki Minaj is a viable MC (like me), why we feel that way, even if it doesn’t exactly knock us out.
The video itself is largely irrelevant, and perhaps I’m just a teensy old-school, but it’s another blown opportunity to use the platform that these high-profile artists have, to not create more of a cinematic video. I’m not sure I understand why this isn’t being done, especially from such an outwardly theatrical Nicki Minaj.
Of course, after the exorcism fiasco, perhaps they just wanted to play it safe.
If that’s the case, and the idea is simply to showcase these good looking folks to the 106 and Park crowd (and its similar worldwide audience), then mission accomplished. Nicki Minaj is a treat to look at, if you’re into that sort of thing (like me) and I’m sure those who swoon over Chris Breezy, will use this tune and video to continue doing so.
Nas is one of the greatest hip hop talents, and his appearance shouldn’t be downplayed. Either it’s his way of endorsing Nicki Minaj, a way to get a quick paycheck, or a strategic promo move to court a younger audience as he prepares a new release. In any of these scenarios, it might be interesting fodder for a sub-discussion.
Ah, another time. For now, for all the talk/fear/criticism of Nicki Minaj playing too much to the pop side of things, this is definitely more in the R&B wheelhouse. Still waiting for her to flex her lyrical muscles just a bit more, but for now, I’m cool with her simply not making my argument in favor of her, any more difficult than it has been at times in the past.
The video for “Right By My Side” is directed by Benny Boom. The song is from Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.