On first listen, Nicki Minaj’s new single, “MEGATRON,” her first solo release since last year’s Queen, is grating and underwhelming. On second listen, however, the song already starts to grow on you.
Nicki first teased “MEGATRON” in a guest verse of Future’s “Transformer” last year. So when the title of Nicki’s new single was announced and pictures of cars on a music video set were posted, the general consensus was that Nicki was going to drop a trap song and rap for the entirety of the track. As is common with Nicki, she did a complete 180° and instead dropped a dancehall-influenced club track.
To really get into “MEGATRON,” context is important. Nicki Minaj is a Trinidadian-American and we’re quickly approaching the peak of summer. “MEGATRON” samples “Filthier Riddim” by Danny Brownie, but dancehall listeners will recognize the beat from “Heads High” by Mr. Vegas. On “MEGATRON” Nicki skates over the beat with an infectious flow that more than makes up for the unimpressive lyrics. “My name is Nicki M, I’m in a sticky Benz/That mean it’s candy apple red, I’m Barbie, this is Ken,” Nicki raps among other references to the usual (Fendi, Donatella Versace, and her vagina).
From a musical point of view, the strongest part of “MEGATRON” is the pre-chorus (“Feel up, baby, feel on me/Pull up if you’re feeling lonely”) and hook (“Brra-ta-ta-ta!”); both sections are ear-candy, they are endlessly catchy. While the Auto-Tune during these parts can feel excessive, it eventually blends with the bouncy bass line to create an enjoyable moment. The bridge, on the other hand, is one of the worst things Nicki has recorded.
There isn’t anything new or innovative about “MEGATRON,” but that’s not the goal of this track. This obviously Nicki’s attempt at creating a summer anthem, and she’s achieved that goal. “MEGATRON” is fun, lighthearted, and most importantly, crafted specifically for the dance floor… and isn’t that what summer is all about?