Nicki Minaj – “No Frauds” Track Review
Remy Ma drew blood with the incisive “Shether”, a diss track that brought skeletons out of closets and served up laugh out loud one liners. Unfortunately, the rapper then promptly tripped over her own feet with the clunky and unnecessary follow up, “Another One”. Rather than following in Drake’s footsteps and finishing the beef before her opponent could respond, Ma instead left the door open for an easy retort.
Nevertheless, the first Nas inspired diss proved so savage it demanded a reaction, but of what sort? By acknowledging the beef Minaj, the bigger star, risks defeat simply by stooping to her opponents level. Acutely aware of this fact, Nikki offers, if not half-a-bar, then a single verse on a straight pop song.
“No Frauds” screams business as usual. Rather than being a stand alone retort to Ma, it was released alongside “Changed It” (which throws further daggers at Ma) and “Regret In Your Tears” (a track that addresses the end of her relationship with Meek Mill). Adding to the sneak diss nature of the release is the song structure itself: Nikki is joined by Drake and Lil Wayne, who pay Remy Ma no mind and only assert Nikki’s supremacy.
Minaj is astute, rather than joining her rival in the gutter, she makes sure battle takes place on the highest of high ground (record sales and celebrity endorsements) where Ma cannot hope to compete: “You can’t beat Pablo if your work ain’t selling…I would have helped you out that pit you fell in, I’m the generous queen! Ask miss Ellen”.
When Nikki does decided to twist the knife she uses personal details to expose her rival as petty and morally misguided (“what type of bum bitch shoot a friend over a rap?/what kind of mother leave her one son over a stack?”). By deftly pivoting between the public (“They say numbers don’t matter, but when they discussing the kings, they say Lebron ain’t got six rings”) and the private (“I got before and after pictures of your surgery”) Minaj keeps her opponent hopelessly off balance.
“No Frauds” is a sustained precision assault. Minaj is the fighter with greater reach content to keep her opponent on the end of a long and pitiless jab while cruising her way to a victory on points. Ma can only hope to sneak inside and land the knock out blow, but unless she has some serious dirt on Minaj, she will be summarily dismissed.
The inclusion of Drake (on auto-pilot) and Lil Wayne works wonders too, they have little to add, but turn a diss track into a full blown pop song – the type that will humiliate her rival when its played on repeat on the radio and in nightclubs.
Of course there is fundamental problem with dismissing your opponent out of hand: the murky single can’t help but feel underpowered and lethargic as a result. Wayne’s charisma and energy, combined with Minaj’s vicious assult, does just enough to make “No Frauds” a stand alone success, but only just.