How do you follow up something like “MEGATRON?” Nicki’s failed attempt at a dancehall-influenced pop-rap song of the summer was met with a lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike. So, in typical Nicki fashion, she spent some time refurbishing her cred through sublime features and remixes (Chance the Rapper‘s “Slide Around” and “Zanies & Fools,” Pop Smoke’s “Welcome to the Party,” Megan Thee Stallion‘s “Hot Girl Summer,” etc.), and it’s all culminated in a strong new solo track: “Yikes.”
Over simple yet effective production courtesy of Pooh Beatz, Nicki reminds us of all the things that have indisputably made her the queen of rap. “Yikes” is chock full of strong bars (“Soon as niggas press you, boy, you throw up peace signs, yeah/You don’t want that action, pull your cards, you decline, yeah”) that expertly eviscerate Meek Mill while reminding us of her expert control of the drama around her. One of Nicki’s strongest assets has always been her ability to craft a catchy hook regardless of genre, and with a more laid-back tone and delivery the hook on “Yikes” is irresistable. Nicki sounds fresh on this track, it’s as if she’s rekindled a part of herself that was missing for the past couple years. She sounds reinvigorated and “Yikes” is a promising taste of what she has in store for her fifth studio album. This is just what she needed a straight rap track with a strong hook and even stronger punchlines. She’s back in her bag, and that Rosa Parks line is hard. No debate about it.