Nicki Minaj has proven to be both a hip-hop and pop threat, but her versatility doesn’t stop there. Through the years, the Trinidad-born hitmaker has dabbled in dancehall, showing off her Caribbean swag, making her most recent splash with labelmate Busta Rhymes on the remix to his new reggae-drenched single, “Twerk It.”
The Dungeon Dragon first released his Pharrell-produced island thump last month, and Thursday night, he gave the track new life by adding the queen of Queens, New York. This time out, rather than employing her alter-ego Roman or her sometimes London accent, Nicki leans on her West Indian roots and lets loose a deep Patois. “Dutty gal, when ya see mi and what yu fi do/ Bow down, big chain and it heavy too,” she raps in a slow and measured pace.
Keeping with the vibe, Nicki goes on to shout out dancehall influencers like Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, before repping for her birthplace, spitting: “Trinidad an no Jame$ mi no chat ’bout.”
Busta Rhymes, who is Jamaican-American, has always dabbled in reggae. On his 2009 album, Back On My B.S., he and Pharrell created a similar vibe with “Kill Dem.”
This isn’t the first time Nicki has embraced dancehall, either. Back in 2010, she hopped on a remix of Jamaican reggae singer Gyptian’s hit “Hold You,” and earlier this year, she contributed to French Montana’s Lil Vicious-sampling single “Freaks.” Though Montana’s single is technically a rap song, Nicki’s verse was drenched with island slang. “I feel like this song brings back the essence of the dancehall,” French told MTV News about “Freaks” back in March. “I feel like just the dances alone in this song is gonna take it somewhere else.”