Behind The Mic: Nicki Minaj’s pop-rap anthem ‘Super Bass’
(Credit: Alamy)


Behind The Mic: Nicki Minaj's pop-rap anthem 'Super Bass'

Nicki Minaj is arguably the best female rapper of all time and has released a lot of quality music in her time. Emerging on the New York hip-hop scene in 2004, after A&R’ Big Fendi’ approached Minaj to appear on The Come Up DVD.

Before making it big, Minaj appeared on The Come Up DVD several times between 2004 and 2006. Under Mizzay Entertainment, an Atlanta-based management company, in 2007, Minaj’s segment appeared after Lil Wayne’s cameo. Noticing Minaj, Lil Wayne contacted the rapper’s management, and in 2007 she signed a record deal with Young Money.

Releasing several mixtapes between 2007 and 2009, such as Scotty Beam Me Up and Playtime Is Over. In 2009, Minaj featured on the smash-hit Young Money record ‘Bedrock’ alongside Lil Wayne, Lloyd, Drake, Tyga and Gudda. This exposed Minaj to the world, and the rest is history.

Across her 15-year career, Minaj has released four studio albums, one compilation album, and three mixtapes. She began releasing albums every two years in 2010. However, after her 2014 album The Pinkprint, she began releasing every four years until 2022, but her most successful album today is still her 2010 debut album Pink Friday. This was her first full-length album and spawned an array of Top 40 hits, including ‘Fly’ featuring Rihanna, ‘Moment 4 Life’ featuring Drake and her most-known single ‘Super Bass’ which has been certified Diamond by the RIAA. We’re going to find a little bit more about how this hit was created.

‘Super Bass’ was released as the fifth single for Minaj’s debut album but was undoubtedly her most successful single from the project. Produced by Kane Beatz, who also produced the Young Money song ‘Bedrock’, ‘Super Bass’ was labelled as “pop-rap” but also labelled as “bubble-gum pop”. The latter means a type of electronic music that is aimed at children and is of little real musical value.

However, written by Minaj, alongside Ester Dean and Roahn Hylton, ‘Super Bass’ struck the perfect balance between pop and hip-hop and had just enough of both that it was played widely on both mainstream rhythmic radio and urban radio. ‘Super Bass’ was recorded at Glenwood Place Studios in Burbank, California and was not initially intended to be released as a single. In a radio interview following the release of Pink Friday, Taylor Swift revealed that she was a fan of the song and even played the track live on air. With Swift’s unsolicited promotion of the track leading to a surge in demand for the song, Minaj subsequently made the decision to release it as a single.

Speaking to MTV News about the single Minaj unveiled, “‘Super Bass’ is about the boy that you are crushing over. and you kind of want to get your mack on, but you’re taking the playful approach.” Elaborating on why she chose to make the aesthetic of her video pink and colourful Minaj stated, “I just wanted to do something real colourful and cutesy. This is an icy world, it’s a sexy world, it’s a playful world. Of course, I have lots of eye candy for my girls and my boys.”

‘Super Bass’ won the award for ‘Best Hip-Hop Music Video’ at the 2011 VMA’s and went on to debut at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The track has since been certified diamond by the RIAA as it has sold over ten million units in the US alone. Below you can watch the music video for ‘Super Bass’ as well as have a look behind the scenes of the video.