Super Bass

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"Super Bass"
Single by Nicki Minaj
from the album Pink Friday
B-side "Moment 4 Life"
Released April 5, 2011
(see release history)
Format
Recorded 2010
Genre
Length 3:19
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Kane Beatz
Certification 8× Platinum (RIAA)
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Did It On'em"
(2011)
"Super Bass"
(2011)
"Girls Fall Like Dominoes"
(2011)
Music video
"Super Bass" on YouTube

"Super Bass" is a song by Trinidadian-American recording artist Nicki Minaj from the deluxe edition of her debut studio album, Pink Friday (2010). It was sent to US rhythmic radio stations as the album's fifth single on April 5, 2011, while "Girls Fall like Dominoes" was released in the British Isles, Australia, and New Zealand. The song was co-written by Minaj, along with Ester Dean, Roahn Hylton and Kane Beatz, who also produced the song along with JMIKE. According to Minaj, the song's lyrics detail the story of a playful romance between a male and a female. The song draws from the electronic and pop genres while Minaj raps over a hip hop beat.

"Super Bass" received acclaim from music critics, who complimented its memorable hook, lyrical context, and chorus. The song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, and reached number three in New Zealand, as well as number six in Australia and Canada. It also reached number eight on the UK Singles Chart. An accompanying music video for the single was shot in March 2011 by director Sanaa Hamri. The video shows Minaj playfully taunting a group of men, and makes use of multiple props, all of which are coloured bubblegum pink. It received generally positive reviews from critics, most of whom complimented the "eye candy" and colorful visuals seen throughout the video.

"Super Bass" has been certified 8× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and has sold more than four million digital copies as of May 13, 2012, becoming one of the best-selling singles in the United States, also making Minaj the first female rapper to gain such status.[1] It was featured on the video game Just Dance 4.[2]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"Super Bass" blends electronic music and pop over a hip-hop beat.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Super Bass" was co-written by Minaj, Ester Dean, Roahn Hylton,[3][4] and Daniel "Kane Beatz" Johnson, who produced the song alongside JMIKE.[5] While being interviewed by MTV News during the video shoot for the single, Minaj explained the song's concept, stating: "'Super Bass' is about the boy that you are crushing over, [...] And you kind of want to get your mack on, but you're taking the playful approach."[6] The song utilizes electronic music and pop in its composition, while Minaj raps over a hip hop beat,[7] while also infusing elements of J-pop combined with an upbeat hook.[8][9][10] It uses a busy beat that is interspersed with digital rain drop sound effects and strong bass. Minaj's vocals in the song have been described as "breathy".[11] "Super Bass" is written in the key of B major with a moderate tempo of 128 beats per minute.[12] Minaj's lyrics in the song are often provocative and suggestive, with lines like "He just gotta give me that look, when he give me that look / Then the panties comin' off, off, uh" and a catchy onomatopoetic refrain: "Boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom, bay, he got dat super bass".[9]

Brad Wete of Entertainment Weekly stated that the song describes Minaj's type of man as "one who hits the gym often and has first-class... money" as she states: "He pops bottles and he’s got the right kind of build…. He’s always in the air / But he never flies coach".[13] Charley Rogulewski of AOL's The Boombox stated that "the uber-catchy 'boom, badoom, boom, boom' chorus makes 'Super Bass' the most pop-friendly Minaj song released to radio [sic] yet".[14] Described as a lighter side to Minaj by Jessica Sinclair of Long Island Press, the song gets more in-depth with a little more pop and an upbeat hook that "really sticks"; however, Minaj still assists the song's pop edge with "crazy rapping skills".[10]

Critical reception[edit]

"Super Bass" received critical acclaim. Wesley Case of The Baltimore Sun gave the song a positive review, stating that it was an "obvious hit". He compared the song to the rest of Pink Friday, stating that it is much more potent as compared to the rest of the album.[11] Case later added: "Pink Friday is short on memorable hooks, but 'Super Bass' is an exception".[11] Rap-Up described the tune as "infectious".[15] Jessica Sinclair of Long Island Press complimented Nicki Minaj for taking "center stage" on the song, due to her solo performance, and added that in doing so Minaj created a success.[16] Sinclair additionally commented on the song as a lighter side to Minaj, and complimented the hook as upbeat and added that it "really sticks".[16] Rosie Gray of BlackBook complimented the song as a "killer".[17] Alex Pielak of Metro compared Minaj's "Super Bass" to Beyoncé's "Move Your Body", stating that: "Nicki wins for the sheer number of words she's managed to cram in – and therefore takes the face off".[9]

Lewis Corner from Digital Spy gave the single four out of a possible five stars. Corner wrote that the song's chorus was "sharper than a Sherbet Dib Dab." Minaj's "eccentric rapping style" was praised in the review with Corner writing that the song was likely to become her first solo top ten hit in the United States or the United Kingdom.[18] Claire Suddath of Time magazine named "Super Bass" one of the Top 10 Songs of 2011.[19]

Commercial performance[edit]

On the week of May 14, 2011, "Super Bass" debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at position 98.[20] The following week it rose 50 spots to number 48.[21] On the week titled May 21, 2011, "Super Bass" debuted on the Hot Rap Songs and Hot Digital Songs charts at number 25 and 31 respectively.[22][23] In its 14th week, the song reached a new peak at number three on the Hot 100, while also having longevity on the charts for 39 weeks; 38 of which were in the top 50.[24] In Canada, "Super Bass" debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 at number 92.[25] "Super Bass" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 46 on May 21, 2011, and after nine non-consecutive weeks of moving up the chart, reached a peak of number eight on the chart for the week ending August 13, 2011. As of March 2012, the song has sold over 4,000,000 digital downloads in the United States alone, making it the first time that a female rapper in a solo or lead position has reached such sales.[26] In December 2013, "Super Bass" was certified 8× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having sold more than 4 million digital copies and accumulating over 400 million domestic online streams.[26]

Music video[edit]

Background[edit]

I just wanted to do something real colorful and cutesy. This is an icy world, it's a sexy world, it's a playful world. Of course I have lots of eye candy for my girls and my boys [...] We have a lot of little surprises in store for this particular video, [...] I would like to put out 50 videos. The videos really tell the story a lot more elaborately than just the song does.

Minaj explaining the video's inspiration.[6]

On March 10, 2011, Minaj revealed during an interview with MTV News that she was shooting a video for "Super Bass" with director Sanaa Hamri and producers: Kimberly S. Stuckwisch, Michelle Larkin & Keith "KB" Brown. She explained the video's concept, stating that she wanted the video to be full of eye candy and that she wanted it to be colorful.[6][27] On April 26, 2011, Minaj premiered a sneak peek of the music video on BET's 106 & Park.[28] The preview showed Minaj in a pink wig with similarly-clad backup dancers gyrating to the song, wearing a uniform of white tank tops, denim shorts, and different colored work boots and the same laces.[28]

Originally the video was set to premiere on the same show as where the preview was premiered on April 27, 2011, but instead was postponed. Minaj took to Twitter to explain that the music video has been pulled from the show and would not be premiering that date for unknown reasons.[28] The music video instead premiered on Minaj's official Vevo account on May 5, 2011.[29]

Synopsis[edit]

Minaj dons many colorful wigs and is very playful throughout the video

The music video begins with a close-up of Minaj as she opens her eyes and begins to blink as the song begins. As Minaj raps verses of the song, Barbie- approved props; a pink Ferrari, pink plane and a pink pool, are shown contemplating what Minaj is saying in the verse.[10] Minaj then begins to playfully tease men as clips of ice-speakers and a motorcycle made of ice are interlaced into the scene. As the chorus begins, Minaj is seen performing choreography with five similarly pink-haired backup dancers. As the video continues, Minaj is seen in a green wig at a pool side with several well-built men, and then splashing with a man in the pool of pink water. Minaj then continues to ride the motorcycle made of ice while wearing a skintight pink bodysuit emblazoned with giraffe prints, a half-blond and pink wig, gold eye shadow and bright pink lipstick.[6] Minaj then begins to reprise her lap dances in the dark, with black lights setting the glowing tone of the dancers, as Minaj glows in the dark with glowing lips, hair and makeup.[10][29] She and her dancers play in feathers that are also glow in the dark towards the end of the video. The video closes with Safaree S.B. Samuels dancing beside her, and Minaj lit in the black lighting, biting her finger while laying across the lap of a male she gave a lapdance to in the video.

Critical reception and accolades[edit]

D.L. Chandler from Rapfix complimented the video's visuals writing, "it is a dazzling visual affair if nothing else".[30] AOL music's Contessa Gayles reviewed the video, writing, "The highlight of the Sanaa Hamri-directed video? The glow-in-the-dark lap-dance scene."[31] On the day of its premiere, Rap-Up complimented the video as "vibrant".[29] Becky Bain of Idolator gave the song a positive review, comparing it to "Judas" stating, "Super Bass had the better choreography in an anxiously-awaited music video featuring a pop star riding a motorcycle released today. (Sorry, 'Judas')".[32] United Kingdom's MTV found Minaj's signature lap dance "saucy" and complimented the clip's use of "hunky men" and "outrageous flirting".[33] Brad Wete of Entertainment Weekly stated that there is plenty of "eye candy" for both men and women, stating that Minaj "ratchets up the sex appeal" in the clip.[13] The Sun favored the fluorescent-lighting scene of the music video stating that "She'd be a good person to have with you at Glasto when you're trying to find your tent".[34] Wesley Case of The Baltimore Sun complimented the video as wildly stylized that "looks like a comic book come to life".[11] At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Minaj's video for "Super Bass" was nominated under the Best Female Video and Best Hip-Hop Video categories, winning the latter and gaining Minaj her first moonman.[35] As of July 2014, the video has accumulated over 418 million views on YouTube.

Live performances[edit]

"Super Bass" was performed live for the first time during the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on May 22, 2011.[36] Minaj performed the song alongside David Guetta at the American Music Awards of 2011 on November 20, 2011, and also performed Guetta's song "Turn Me On", which Minaj was featured on.[37] Minaj also performed the song on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest and on the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show which aired on November 29, 2011 on CBS.[38][39] The song was the encore song on Minaj's debut concert tour, the Pink Friday Tour. She also has performed the song on her Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour.

Minaj performed "Super Bass" at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards followed by "Bed of Lies" (featuring Skylar Grey) and "Anaconda".

Cover versions[edit]

During an interview with Nashville’s 107.5 The River, American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift requested the station to play "Super Bass" during an interview.[40] Swift described her love for the song stating, "I’ve been listening to it on repeat and I really freak my friends out because I can recite every single lyric to the rap".[40] The DJ later convinced Swift to rap a verse from Minaj's song on the air.[40] In an interview with American radio station 102.7 KIIS FM, Minaj said, "Taylor Swift did her little interview about 'Super Bass' and [it] took off in the States with the people sort of knowing it...It’s just really uncanny how all that stuff happens...We didn’t plan it like that".[41] On the same day as Swift's "Super Bass"-rap, Selena Gomez additionally took to her official YouTube account to rap to Minaj's song.[42] In the video, Gomez raps an entire verse of the song, fast-forwarding through the profane language of the song, due to her younger audience.[42][43] She later also covered the song during the Much Music festival in Toronto with a slight change of the lyrics.[44] It was also covered by Karmin and it was released as a single on iTunes on June 6, 2011.[45] Also, British girl group Little Mix (named Rhythmix at the time) covered it on The X Factor in the eighth series which was also featured on their debut single "Cannonball", it was covered in the TV show Glee as a mashup with Mariah Carey's "I Still Believe". American power pop band The Downtown Fiction covered "Super Bass" for 2011's Punk Goes Pop 4 album, giving it more of a rock n roll sound while changing some (but not all) of the gender references.

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[46]
  1. "Super Bass" – 3:19
  1. "Super Bass" – 3:21
  2. "Moment 4 Life" – 4:39
  • UK Promo CD single[48]
  1. "Super Bass" – 3:21

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Pink Friday, Young Money, Cash Money, Universal Motown.[5]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Radio and release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[82] April 5, 2011 Rhythmic airplay Universal Motown Records
Australia[83] May 13, 2011 Digital download Cash Money Records
New Zealand[84]
United States May 17, 2011 Mainstream airplay[85] Universal Motown Records
June 20, 2011 Urban airplay[86]

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