Monday, August 4, 2014
"Flawless (Remix)" ft. Nicki Minaj- Beyoncé
"We escalate, up in this bitch like elevators, of course sometimes s*** go down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator," Beyoncé pointedly raps over the freshly minted electro burbles and operatic whispers of the "Flawless" remix. Considering it's the first song Queen Bey's dropped since the heated elevator fight between her sister Solange and husband Jay Z, it's understandable why the line is getting publicity. Heck I'm leading this review with it. But incessantly babbling about her addressing the "controversy" is foolish because it distracts from a near-perfect rework.
Despite the fascinating childhood samples and brilliant monologue from writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the original Hit Boy production was one of my least favorites from Beyoncé. Instead of comfortably settling into the spare menace of something like "Clique," he's constantly fiddling with pitch-shifters and mashing drum machines. The remix ditches most of the muss and fuss for little string plinks and coordinated drum strikes. Though it sounds moody, it's not in the slightest. Bey's genuinely giddy on the remix. Mrs. Carter playfully calls out "these thots" and laughs before a cash register sounds. Seeing herself in the mirror she reacts with fervent chants of "God damn, God damn, God damn." To drive home the point, the gleeful horns from OutKast's narrative epic "Spottieottiedopaliscious" make an appearance. Big Boi explained the unwieldy name was a, "Southern slang term for a girl that is superfine, bad, sexy, intelligent and jazzy all at the same time," and if anyone has ever fit that description its Beyoncé.
If you made room for a second R&B or rap artist in the discussion, Nicki Minaj would have to come up. For lack of a better word she's "flawless" on the remix. Without batting an eyelash, Minaj speeds in and out of crowded lanes of Instagram pics and "Princess cut diamonds on my Disney." She's a curvalicious fantasy. But realistically she's the warrior queen, hurling Propofol threats and shouting down anyone asking her to take it back to the days of "Monster." At the end of the tongue twisting middle she jabs, "He want monster Nicki in Sri Lanka, I told 'em meet me at the Trump, Ivanka, I said come here let me show you how this cookie tastes, This that "yeah n**** eat the cookie" face." If Beyoncé's trying to forget her recent personal history, Minaj is turning the page from her rap past. Why worry about what's in the rearview when what's out in front is this dazzling?