Anaconda (Nicki Minaj song)

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"Anaconda"
Nicki Minaj Anaconda.png
Single by Nicki Minaj
from the album The Pinkprint
Released 4 August 2014 (2014-08-04)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2014, Glenwood Recording Studios
(Burbank, California)
Genre
Length 4:20 (album version)
3:19 (radio edit)
3:51 (radio edit 2)
2:56 (album edit – international deluxe)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Bang Bang"
(2014)
"Anaconda"
(2014)
"Low"
(2014)
"Bang Bang"
(2014)
"Anaconda"
(2014)
"Low"
(2014)
Music video
"Anaconda" on YouTube

"Anaconda" is a song by Trinidadian-born American rapper Nicki Minaj, from her third studio album, The Pinkprint (2014). It was released on August 4, 2014 by Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records, and Republic Records as the second single from the album.[3] The song was produced by Polow da Don, Anonymous, and Da Internz. The song heavily samples "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot.[4]

The song peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, consequently becoming Minaj's highest charting single in the United States to date. It went on to spend eight weeks in the top ten of the Hot 100 chart.[5] The song also peaked within the top ten in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

An accompanying video for the song was directed by Colin Tilley and released on August 19, 2014. Following the video's release, it broke the 24-hour streaming record on Vevo by accumulating 19.6 million views in its first day of release, being surpassed by Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" in 2015. To further promote the song, Minaj performed it live at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards and also performed it at Fashion Rocks and the iHeartRadio Music Festival. "Anaconda" was nominated for Best Rap Song at the 2015 Grammy Awards.[6] The song was also nominated for two categories at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, Best Female Video and Best Hip-Hop Video, winning the latter.[7]

Background and composition[edit]

On August 5, 2014, producer Polow da Don claimed the "Anaconda" instrumental was originally intended for fellow female rapper and musician Missy Elliott, but was scrapped and then re-recorded by Minaj.[8] However, on August 24, 2014, Elliott revealed to fans and followers via her Twitter account that Polow's recollections were untrue and additionally confirmed that she never received the alleged instrumental.[9] The cover art for the single went viral on the web after being revealed. On various digital music stores, the cover art is censored with the Parental Advisory label over Minaj's buttocks. The song heavily samples "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot, who also has vocals in the chorus of the song.[8]

Musically, the song is a hip hop and pop-rap song.[2] The song is written in the key of C minor with a tempo of 130 beats per minute.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Carolyn Menyes from Music Times said it is a bit "raunchy" though this was "expected" and saying "Anaconda" continues Minaj's promise to move away from her poppier singles such as "Super Bass" and "Starships," and go back to her hardcore rap roots.[11] Kory Grow from Rolling Stone praised the use of the "Baby Got Back" sample and said the song stayed true to the theme of the original.[12] Kevin Goddard from HotNewHipHop said "Nicki's raunchy new version may be the next big thing to hit the industry."[13] Dan Reilly from Spin said "Minaj takes the good Sir's '92 ode to protruding posteriors and adds a heavy dose of 2014 sex lingo."[14] Amy Davidson from Digital Spy gave the song three stars out of five and said that "Nicki's breaking down barriers."[15]

Sir Mix-a-Lot said he had "a whole new level of respect for Minaj" after hearing the record and that he became a "fan for life" of Minaj.[16]

The song made Spin's end of year 'The 101 Best Songs of 2014' list. It ranked #3 on the list of 101 entries and Spin herald it "much more than just a song" but a "cultural movement." She was the only rapper to make the top ten of the list as a lead artist.[17] "Anaconda" was also placed at number two on MTV's Best Songs of 2014.[18]

However, despite the positive reviews the song received negative reactions. The London Economic called it "one of the worst songs ever."[19] Critics from National Review referred to the song as "degrading," promotes prostitution and drug abuse and promotes immorality to young girls.[20] A city in Israel banned the song and prohibited it from concerts and sports events.[21] They claimed the record is "violations of women's dignity," encouragement of "a culture of rape, humiliation of women," and lyrics "full of racist words, insults, sexism and homophobia."[22]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, the song debuted at No. 3 on the Digital Songs chart selling 141,000 digital downloads in its first week. Additionally, as Minaj shares lead credit on "Bang Bang," which was No. 2 on that same chart in the same week, Minaj became the first lead act to have two concurrent songs in the top three of the chart since Taylor Swift did it on the list dated September 22, 2012.[23] On the Billboard Hot 100, the song debuted at No. 19, marking Minaj's 51st Hot 100 entry and subsequently breaking out of a tie with Michael Jackson for overall career Hot 100 entries.[24]

For the week ending September 6, 2014, "Anaconda" jumped 39-2 on the Hot 100, becoming Minaj's highest charting single on that chart, and marking her eleventh top ten single. It was kept from the top spot by Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off", which debuted atop the chart the same week. Its leap into the runner-up position was brought on primarily by the release of its music video, which garnered 32.1 million domestic streams in its first week. That streaming total caused it to consequentially skyrocket 42-1 on Billboard's Streaming Songs chart. It is the largest one week streaming sum since Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" received 36.4 million streams for the week ending September 28, 2013. Additionally, the 39-2 ascent for "Anaconda" marks the second-biggest jump ever within the Hot 100's top 40. Only The Black Eyed Peas made a bigger leap in the region when "Boom Boom Pow" blasted 39-1 on April 18, 2009.[25] "Anaconda" was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in November 2014 and has sold 1.3 million copies in the US as of December 2014.[26][27]

Music video[edit]

A music video for the track was shot in Los Angeles, California by Colin Tilley[28] and was released on August 19, 2014.[29] The video features a cameo appearance by fellow rapper and labelmate Drake.[30] The video broke the 24-hour streaming record on Vevo by accumulating 19.6 million views in its first day of release, beating the 19.3 million 24-hour record previously held by Miley Cyrus for the music video of her song, "Wrecking Ball", in 2013.[31] On August 30, 2014, eleven days after the release of the music video, "Anaconda" was Vevo certified for receiving over 100 million views. In 2015 Taylor Swift surpassed Minaj's record with the video for her single "Bad Blood" which got 20.1 million views in 24 hours.[32]

In a review of Minaj's video, Lucas Villa of AXS wrote, "It's butts abound in her bananas clip for 'Anaconda.'"[33] NBC host Al Roker called the music video "vile" and "desperate". Roker said, "It almost seems like Minaj has gotten desperate and needs to do something to get her crown back."[34] Molly Lambert of Grantland was complimentary, writing "the video is about Nicki asserting her power, not as a sexual object but a sexual subject."[35] It was named one of the sexiest videos of 2014 by VH1.[36]

Live performances[edit]

On 24 August 2014, Minaj first performed the song live at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. The performance followed Ariana Grande's individual performance of her single "Break Free" and was followed by a performance of Jessie J, Grande, and Minaj's joint single "Bang Bang."[37] On September 9, 2014, Minaj performed the song live at Fashion Rocks.[38] On September 19, 2014, Minaj performed the song at the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival.[39] On November 9, 2014, Minaj performed "Anaconda" at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards in a three-song medley including her other songs "Super Bass" and "Bed of Lies" featuring Skylar Grey.[40]

The song was briefly sung by a group of bunnies in the 2016 movie, Sing. Since the song was explit, they only sang the lines, 'Oh, my, gosh. Look at her butt'.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording[41]
Personnel[41]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Radio and release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Various[84] August 4, 2014 Digital download
United States[85] August 12, 2014 Contemporary hit radio
Rhythmic contemporary
United Kingdom[86] October 5, 2014 Digital download

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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