Very few rappers are as notorious for their guest verses as Nicki Minaj. It’s how she got her reputation in the early days of her career, and how she was able to pull $50,000 a verse without an album to her name. Even now as the biggest rapper in the world, she’s still able to destroy a feature like very few MCs can. Here are my picks for the top ten featured verses Nicki’s dropped in her career.
10. GET LIKE ME – Nelly feat. Pharrell Williams and Nicki Minaj
Kicking off our list is the little-known 2013 Nelly collab “Get Like Me”. The song has a very chill vibe throughout, and Nicki effortlessly incorporates that tone into her verse, in addition to taking some cues from Lil Scrappy of all people (“I’m the shizniyee”). Onika also incorporates some solid wordplay (prose/pros, back/’Bach/bike) into this relatively short verse (16 bars). It’s a tight, solid verse that showcases Nicki’s ability to incorporate the styles of artists she works with. Speaking of which…
9. SENILE – Young Money (Tyga, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne)
This bizarre track was one of the highlights of the Young Money: Rise of an Empire album, which I’ve already talked about. While Wayne drops a killer verse as well, this song’s main selling point is Nicki, who takes Tyga’s straight-up boring flow and adds an important layer of confidence to it. Clever, quick, and cool, Nicki proves once again that she’s one of Young Money’s most valuable assets.
8. SWEET DREAMS – Lil Wayne feat. Beyonce and Nicki Minaj
After a minute and a half of an already-released, chart-topping Beyonce song even though this isn’t an official remix and Wayne didn’t really have to use any of it, we get to the real main event of this track off Wayne’s No Ceilings mixtape: Nicki Minaj. This was one of the first tracks where Nicki truly eclipsed Wayne, signifying the oncoming demise of Lil Wayne as well as the rising star of Nicki Minaj. While the verse does have a disappointing number of wack lines, she maintains a killer flow throughout, and pulls through with some impressive wordplay as well.
7. DOPE DEALER – Meek Mill feat. Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross
Nicki Minaj and her fiancee, the recently-deceased Meek Mill, always bring out the best in each other. Perhaps that’s why a tragically overlooked Nicki verse can be found tucked away in an otherwise-unremarkable Meek mixtape (meekstape). She absolutely demolishes this track, and even though she borrows Meek’s flow, she uses it to a level that Meek could never reach.
6. MY CHICK BAD – Ludacris feat. Nicki Minaj
How could I leave out this classic? This was Nicki’s first successful feature, and it still stands the test of time as one of her best. While regrettably short at twelve bars, but she packs enough punch and personality for a full song. Nicki plays the role of the “bad chick” in question, and from the looks of it, that description may be a bit of an understatement. While her song “Out of My Mind” with B.o.B was plagued by being too corny to be convincing, this one showcases Nicki’s incredible ability to play characters in her rhymes and is so genuine it’s scary.
5. BOTTOMS UP – Trey Songz feat. Nicki Minaj
I think this was the first I’d heard of Nicki Minaj. And while it took me a few years and a sexual awakening to get into Trey Songz, I was hooked on Nicki from day one. With her kooky voices and lightning flow, this verse sort of feels like a prototype of “Monster”, which we’ll get to soon. A few baffling bars aside, it’s a really solid verse, and it cemented Nicki’s standing as a force to be reckoned with in the rap industry.
4. MERCY – Lil Wayne feat. Nicki Minaj
Yes, this is a Lil Wayne unofficial remix of a Kanye West song. That’s beside the point. On this song, Nicki’s lyrics are off the charts, her flow is fire, working off and improving Big Sean and Pusha T’s flows from the original song, and she yet again kills Lil Wayne on his own song (well, his own version of Kanye’s own song). She does a four-way pun on “C section”. She rhymes “Romney” with “economy”. She starts off the verse by telling dudes to “make that dick shake”. It’s just glorious.
3. HELLO, GOOD MORNING (Remix) – Diddy/Dirty Money feat. Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj
I love this verse. In fact, I love this song in general. In fact, I love the Diddy/Dirty Money supergroup as a whole, mainly for their utter lack of chemistry (listen to “Ass on the Floor” and tell me you didn’t laugh). But while there’s a lot to like about this song, we’re focusing on Nicki Minaj here today. You know how I said the “My Chick Bad” verse is too short? This is what I’m talking about here. In just 16 bars, Nicki effortlessly moves between about four different flows, uses what some have argued is a quadruple entendre (it’s not, but still, pretty impressive), and drops one of the best Puff Daddy-adjacent verses I’ve ever heard.
2. FLAWLESS (Remix) – Beyonce feat. Nicki Minaj
Sometimes, you look back on a decision you made and you realize that you probably shouldn’t have done it. So, let me confirm ten months later that this verse was, indeed, the best verse of 2014. Hands down, actually. Nicki absolutely bodies this track, perfectly encapsulating the message of the song and offering some of her best flows and lyrics yet. After a poorly-received venture into pop, this was Nicki’s confirmation that she was back and better than ever. If any verse can be truly “flawless”, this one is a prime contender.
1. MONSTER – Kanye West feat. Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and Nicki Minaj
Fun story. There was a point in the creation of this article where I was going to put “Flawless” at #1. What changed my mind? Well, I listened to “Monster” again. I swear to god, this verse blows me away every single time I hear it. Its sheer versatility and dexterity sets it apart as one of the best verses of the decade. Nicki doesn’t just “go up against” big rappers, she demolishes two of the greatest rappers of all time. She creates one of the standout moments on the 2nd-most critically acclaimed rap album ever. She was one of only two artists this decade who managed to shake up the entire game over the course of a single verse (the other being Kendrick Lamar, who may or may not be beefing with her). What more can I say? She’s a motherfucking monster.
That concludes my list of the best Nicki Minaj guest verses of all time. I have a bunch of other awesome articles on the way, but in the meantime, like this post if you like it, comment if you’ve got something to say, follow my blog if you like it like it, you can also follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and I’ll see you around.