Nicki Minaj has taken one of the oldest tricks in the hip-hop playbook and flipped it yet again. The Queens rapper dropped her fourth solo studio album Queen earlier today and trolled the entire rap game with “Barbie Dreams,” a nod to The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1993 classic “Just Playing (Dreams)” that’s updated for the 2018 pop culture landscape.
Following Biggie’s lead, Nicki cracks jokes about the men on her hit list—and those who can’t keep up with the queen's stamina or sex drive. Nicki makes a cross-dressing quip about Young Thug. Claims she curved 6ix9ine. Clowns DJ Khaled’s distaste for cunnilingus. And even makes squares of her love triangle with Drake and Meek Mill.
Excluding a quick shoutout to Biggie Smalls, Nicki Minaj names 31 people on “Barbie Dreams.” But it’s not the first time she’s flexed this trick or payed homage to the Notorious One. Her 2007 mixtape Playtime Is Over features “Dreams,” which similarly jacks the beat of Biggie’s original track and targets fellow up-and-comers of the era, including Maino, Rich Boy and Mims. That same tape also features a remake of Biggie’s 1994 storytelling masterpiece “Warning.”
Others have used Biggie’s name-calling tactic in various ways. His protégé Lil Kim dropped her own version of “Dreams” on her 1996 debut Hard Core. In 1999, Ras Kass updated the theme with “Dreams….Too.” That same year, 50 Cent flipped the concept in his own way for 1999’s “How to Rob,” on which he specifies every rapper he wants to stick-up. (He pulls a similar roast-session strategy on 2002’s “Love Me.”) Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie Dreams” is the latest in a long tradition.
XXL rounded up every rapper, athlete and Kardashian that Nicki Minaj references on “Barbie Dreams” in the gallery below.