First and foremost, shout to Nicki Minaj. I had the pleasure of meeting her many moons ago in NYC (I won't post the photos) and she accepted my friend request on Myspace around the time of the Barbie Bitch mixtape. It's been a pleasure following her career from Come Up DVDs to pop stardom. If you came here for gossip, I'd suggest you look elsewhere. I am not here for Nicki's bars or beefs. I repeat, I am not here for her bars or beefs. I'm here for the beats, the producers, writers, and engineers.
Nicki dropped two tracks today. You can check both out here.
I've been Tidal heavy lately because quite frankly, they show credits. Finding the credits were as simple as opening the app and clicking track info. Not only did she credit the producer, Nicki credited the engineer and the assistant engineers! Impressive. Let's take them one by one.
Barbie Tingz [Produced by Chevi Music]
|Assistant Recording Engineer|
Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine
Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine
Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine
Shout to JReid also known as Chevy Music as stated on Tidal or Chevi Music for googling purposes. I had to dig deep with the searches online but with these placements, I'm sure someone will be handling that type of stuff for him very soon. Every page had a slightly different name. I found a well-maintained soundcloud page first and tracked down his youtube channel. He's clearly not new to the grind. He has a project entitled Laboratory 4 and its dope. Check out the "Burbank to LA" joint. It's a damn shame producers have to use those tags. They really take away from the vibe. I'd like to see this entire beat tape up for sale or on a streaming site minus the female voice. Those plays will probably shoot through the roof in a short period of time.
After trying a few more spelling combinations and following some internet trails, I finally stumbled on a pretty lit IG page. My guy has some posts up about his accomplishments and after working with so many dope producers over the years, I know what goes into getting to this point. I saw my guy KY shout him out on twitter. His twitter page had a da in it instead of the. To many people, it's probably not a big deal but for us it is. Now we can properly tag him on all major platforms so folks can pay attention. For creators, consistent branding is key.
It's refreshing to see a producer who doesn't have a long track record with majors getting some good looks. Genius lists him as the producer of Moneybagg Yo's "Have U Eva"so clearly his music is getting in the right hands. He's Atlanta based and he looks really familiar but I don't think we've crossed paths yet.
With a name like Chevi Music, the trunk-rattling bass is expected and Chun-Li has a mean low kick (pun intended) with the low end. At first, I wasn't sure if this was a request from Nicki or if this was in his arsenal already. There was something familiar about the beat. I set it to repeat and let it play.
It hit me after a good twelve listens. At the 0:37 mark, the beat transitions from something sort of like a 2018 "Peter Piper" into an updated version of "You Talk Too Much", both by Run-DMC. The pattern repeats throughout the entire song. Now I'm convinced this was a special order with a special purpose.
Nicki has co-production credits so I assume she had a direction in mind and picked those records purposefully. It's a well-played chess move I feel most of her fans won't even catch but I respect her homage to the Queens-bred Hall of Famers. It's a high-IQ move from a real MC. Peep how the subject matter changes as the beat does.
The execution overall was cool. I'll be honest and say that the most exciting part of the track for me was trying to figure out exactly what songs inspired the drum patterns and vibe. Sound selection is big for me and in an effort to make something old new, the overall effect wasn't as dope as I wanted it to be. Sonically, it's flawless. It took me back to Pops blasting rap during a ride in the Hyundai Excel back in the late 80's. Still, something about it didn't work for me. I personally feel like if you're going to emulate legendary music, elevate it, and for me, it fell a little short. It just didn't feel as natural of a fusion as I wanted it to feel. I get it though and I'm not mad at it. A new generation could be re-introduced to a classic sound and that's a win for the culture. Also when an artist as big as Nicki Minaj has an idea, you run with it as a new cat in the game. This one will definitely get burn in different regions of the country. There is no loss to be had here. I wouldn't be surprised if it grew on me later.
Chun-Li [Produced by Chevi Music]
JReid finds his stride on this one. It's definitely my favorite of the two. The intro features a gong and why not? The title is "Chun-Li". I'm going to leave that one where it is. I've always been a fan of horns. They just feel triumphant. They're also urgent. Bass is heavy once again. I mean Miami Bass, Tigra and Bunny "Cars That Go Boom" type Bass. I had to capitalize the B on this one. It's a pretty minimal and to the point type of track and the sound selection feels very on point. The snare punches through perfectly. I used to hit this pattern on the lunch table at Central High back in Philly. Shout to DJ Drama, Cassidy and E. Ness. You can feel the merger of Nicki's hip-hop roots and JReid's southern vibes and it works for me. It also shows his range as a producer. Stepping out the box is never a bad ting. I'll definitely use this to soundcheck the system at the next spot I faux DJ (Word to Thrill Collins).
We got a 2 for 1 special on #NickiDay. I read or skimmed about 35 articles today, because frankly when Nicki drops, its news. I spent all day absorbing these two records because I'm a music nerd and that's what we do. I'll leave the drama to #TeamInsertYourPreferredRapperHere. Kudos to JReid of Chevi Music for landing two records with a huge artist! I fully expect him to take this opp and flip it into more wins. He's a very talented producer and we wish him nothing but continued success. Also, shout to Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine, a veteran in the engineering community and long-time engineer for Polo The Don, Esther Dean and Nicki Minaj. The Alabama product currently based in LA has his prints (bad audio engineering joke lol) all over major records from the past decade. Engineers make music what it is sonically, period.