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‘Do We Have a Problem?’ Review: Barbie and Baby Bring the Heat

4 stars

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The queen of rap has returned. Following a three-year hiatus, Nicki Minaj released her single “Do We Have a Problem?” on Feb. 4. Minaj was joined by the prominent Atlanta rapper Lil Baby and Miami-native Papi Yerr, known primarily for his work with Tory Lanez.

Although fairly conventional, Papi Yerr’s production is undeniably catchy and made to top the charts. This head-bopping hit owes its appeal to its relative simplicity: a trap beat, heavy 808s on the downbeats, and a driving triplet synth melody. This formulaic approach is used in other Papi Yerr songs, notably “Bentayga,” showing that the production is nothing out of the ordinary.

The real magic of the single, however, comes with the impeccable flow of both Minaj and Lil Baby. From her opening lines “Tell ‘em my niña, my bitch, she a rider,” it is evident Minaj’s style has not been lacking as a result of her break. It’s as if she released her previous studio album “Queen” just yesterday, what with her verses resembling past works like “Chun-Li” and “Chun Swae.”

Furthermore, “Do We Have a Problem?” shows Minaj can truly thrive in any genre. Topping the charts in dance pop (“Starships”), drill (“Chi-raq”), and even K-Pop (“Idol”), her new single proves she is ready to take her place in the new wave of trap-heavy hip-hop, epitomized by rappers such as Lil Baby, Playboi Carti, and Lil Durk.

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Despite his incredible flow, Lil Baby’s feature on the song falls short of spectacular. Partially because his verse only lasts 45 seconds, Minaj’s performance greatly outshines his. Regardless, he complements Minaj’s energy well, and the pair’s chemistry takes the song to another level.

We are not seeing the last of Minaj in “Do We Have a Problem?” Indeed, her next single, “Bussin,” is set to release on Feb. 11, again with a Lil Baby feature. Both songs are previews of her fifth studio album, “NM5,” which she is aiming to release this year.

Until then, Barbz can rejoice in Minaj’s two new singles and the queen’s return.

—Staff writer A.J. Veneziano can be reached at aj.veneziano@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @aj_veneziano.

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