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Barbie Dreams

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"Barbie Dreams"
Single by Nicki Minaj
from the album Queen
ReleasedAugust 14, 2018 (2018-08-14)
Genre Hip hop
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Barbie Dreams"
Music video
"Barbie Dreams" on YouTube

"Barbie Dreams" is a song recorded by American rapper Nicki Minaj for her fourth studio album Queen (2018). It was released on August 14, 2018, to radio stations through Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records as the third single from the album. The song was written by Minaj, Rashad "Ringo" Smith, duo Mel and Mus consisting of Melvin Hough II and Rivelino Raoul Wouter, Christopher Smith, James Brown, and Fred Wesley; while its production was done by Ringo, and Mel and Mus.

Commercially, the song peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and entered the charts of Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For promotion, Minaj debuted the track on Queen Radio show on Beats 1, and continued with a live performance of the song at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.

Background and release[edit]

In a June 2018 Elle magazine interview, Minaj lamented the death of rap beef, something she loved and felt had dissipated, so she wanted to bring that energy back in a funny spirit.[1] On August 10, 2018, Minaj revealed the final tracklist for her fourth studio album, Queen, that included a track titled "Barbie Dreams" at number three.[2] It premiered a few hours later as part of the album on all major music platforms.[3] To promote it as well as the 18 other tracks, Minaj played the song live on her Beats 1 Queen Radio show with Zane Lowe, and tried to explain the message behind it.[4] Four days later, as announced by Young Money, the song was sent to Rhythmic contemporary radio stations as the third single from the album, following "Bed" that features American singer Ariana Grande.[5] The song’s title “Barbie Dreams” also connects to Nicki Minaj’s Barbie persona. She often dresses to portray a Barbie-like image, using Barbie as one of her alter egos

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Barbie Dreams" is four minutes and thirty-nine seconds long.[6] It contains interpolations from "Just Playing (Dreams)", written by Christopher Wallace and Smith, as performed by The Notorious B.I.G.; interpolations and samples from "Blues and Pants", written by Brown and Wesley, as performed by Brown.[7] The song marks the second time Minaj rapped on B.I.G.'s "Just Playing (Dreams)" beat, as she already used it on her track "Dreams" from her debut mixtape, Playtime Is Over (2007).[8]

Lyrically, unlike the former who rapped about his attraction to popular female R&B singers, Minaj playfully insults prominent male rappers and athletes, who are mostly friends and collaborators of hers, with a few of them even featured on the album. The list includes Drake, Meek Mill, Eminem, DJ Khaled, 50 Cent, Young Thug, Swae Lee, Lil Uzi Vert, Fetty Wap, Quavo, Future, 6ix9ine and YG.[9] Several publications suggested that the song was a diss track, but Minaj has denied that and clarified during her Queen Radio show that the track only targeted individuals she loves.[10] She also tweeted a similar statement, "I only mentioned people [...] that I fuk wit. This isn't a diss. Yikes. This is culture, this is BIGGIE!!!!! New York!!!! This is FUN."[11] Furthermore, she uses the idea of Barbie, the iconic western doll to contradict normalized ideas of beauty being blond and thin. Instead, Nicki Minaj uses her Barbie persona to show she is just as beautiful without those traits. She shows the power of her body that she shows so much pride in Minaj's recording engineer Big Juice explained the making process of the song saying, "She told me to load up that beat, put it on loop, and give her about twenty or thirty minutes. Then she goes in the booth and lays that shit down, and that’s what you got. I didn’t know what she was gonna say. I wanna say she did 90% of that in one take. She mumbled the hook when she was laying the verses, laid the rest of it, went back and put the hook in the middle."[12]

Talking about her influences to make the song on her Queen Radio show, Minaj mentioned B.I.G. and Eminem saying, "Shout outs to B.I.G. [who] is still inspiring me every day. [...] I love dope writers who can write bars and make you laugh. Eminem [after that] too."[13] She also cited 50 Cent's "How to Rob" as an inspiration on her Hot 97 interview, "It's so "How to Rob" [...] I wanna shoutout 50 because [...] he inspired that record so much. That's why it's the first person I say on the song."[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Mosi Reeves of Rolling Stone commented on the song by saying "The centerpiece is "Barbie Dreams," a viral revision of The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Just Playing (Dreams)." While Biggie drooled over "R&B bitches," Nicki Minaj "dreams of fucking one of these little rappers," and cuts them down to size in the process. "Drake worth a 100 million, always buying me shit/But I don't know if the pussy wet or if he crying and shit," she rhymes, subtly poking fun at Drake's sad boy persona."[15] Kathy Iandoli of Billboard called the song a standout track on the album.[16] Ben Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian stated, "It is the perfect track for a gossipy, meme-obsessed age, and Minaj smartly puts herself at the front of the social media conversation.",[17] Brianna Younger of Pitchfork thought that the single is a "flamethrowing pink slip delivered with a wink. Positioning some of rap’s biggest names in her crosshairs".[18]

In Variety, A.d. Amorosi described it as a "hilarious rap attack modeled after the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Just Playing (Dreams)" and its rip on popular female R&B singers of his day — except this time, it's the men of hip-hop who get a playful beat-down."[19] Spin's Israel Daramola advanced "Echoing Biggie, Minaj reminds us throughout "Barbie Dreams" that "she's just playing." Still, what makes the song so great is that it's just mean and personal enough to make you wonder if maybe she isn't. The song doesn't leave you thinking about whether Minaj went too far, but instead reveling in her gleeful hacking away at the pride of the men who dominate the genre. For one song, at least, Queen accomplishes its goal."[20]

In December 2018, Billboard ranked "Barbie Dreams" as the 95th best song of the year[21]

Music video[edit]

Screenshot from the music video for Minaj's 2018 single "Barbie Dreams" featuring Minaj holding the DJ Khaled like Hand puppet in the music video of the song.

The accompanying music video for "Barbie Dreams" was directed by Hype Williams and it premiered on September 10, 2018 after Minaj radio show Queen Radio on Beats1 Apple. [22][23] It was made available on the singer's official YouTube account.[1],The video begins with a Muppet (Audience applauding) welcoming the audience to the "Barbie Dream" Show then the video cuts to Minaj ascending as she pays homage to The Notorious B.I.G with the line "R.I.P. to B.I.G Classic shit" [24][25] most of the scenes features Minaj dancing, grinding and making faces in a variety of different outfits and hair colors.[26]The video features Hand puppet muppet-like versions of Hip-Hop performers mentioned on the track and why she would or would not have sex with them,[27][28][29]The Muppet's are all famous male rappers that consist of (in order): 50 cent, Meek Mill, 6ix9ine, Dj Khaled, Lil Wayne, and Quavo.[30]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Barbie Dreams" debuted at number 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100, dropped to number 38 in its second week,[31] and left the top 40 in its third week.[32]

Live performances[edit]

Minaj first performed the song on August 20, 2018, in a medley of "Majesty", "Barbie Dreams", "Ganja Burns", and "Fefe" live from the PATH World Trade Center station at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.[33] On September 4, 2018, Minaj performed the song in the medley of "Barbie Dreams", "Ganja Burn", and "Fefe" during the premiere show of sixteenth season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[34]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from Queen album liner notes.[7]



  • Nicki Minaj – vocals
  • Rashad "Ringo" Smith – production
  • Mel and Mus
  • Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine – record engineering
  • Laura Bates – record engineering assistance
  • Todd Bergman – record engineering assistance
  • Jaycen Joshua – mixing
  • David Nakaji – mixing assistance
  • Ben Milchev – mixing assistance
  • Chris Athens – mastering


Chart (2018) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[35] 57
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[36] 43
Ireland (IRMA)[37] 41
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[38] 3
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[39] 60
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[40] 92
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[41] 7
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[42] 36
US Billboard Hot 100[43] 18
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[44] 13
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[45] 12


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[46] Gold 500,000double-dagger

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various August 10, 2018 [47][48]
United States August 14, 2018 Rhythmic contemporary radio [5]


  1. ^ Daramola, Israel (August 10, 2018). "Review: Nicki Minaj's "Barbie Dreams" is Hilariously Rude". Spin. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  2. ^ "Nicki Minaj "Queen" Tracklist Feat. Foxy Brown, Eminem, The Weeknd & Lil Wayne". Urban Islandz. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  3. ^ Aswad, HJem (August 10, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Drops Album 'Queen,' Featuring Eminem and The Weeknd, a Week Early". Variety. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  4. ^ Hussein, Wandera (August 10, 2018). "Listen to Nicki Minaj debut her Queen album via Beats 1". The Fader. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Top 40 Rhythmic Future Releases". Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  6. ^ "Queen / Nicki Minaj". Tidal. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Queen (CD). Nicki Minaj. Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records/Republic Records. 2018. 602567809920.
  8. ^ Hussein, Wandera (August 10, 2018). "Nicki Minaj actually made a "Barbie Dreams" type song in 2007". The Fader. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  9. ^ Klinkenberg, Brendan; Leight, Elias (August 10, 2018). "Every Rapper Nicki Minaj Dissed on 'Barbie Dreams'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  10. ^ Aswad, Jem (August 10, 2018). "Why She Goes After Drake, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled on 'Barbie Dreams'". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  11. ^ "Nicki Says "Barbie Dreams" Isn't a Diss: I Only Mentioned People I F*** With". VLADTV. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Leight, Elias (August 13, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Freestyled 90-Percent of 'Barbie Dreams' in One Take". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  13. ^ Mele, Sofia (August 10, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Insists 'Barbie Dreams' Is 'Not a Diss' & More Highlights From Queen Radio Episode 2". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  14. ^ "Flex & Nicki Minaj Squash Differences & Standards in Hip Hop #WeGotaStoryToTell020". YouTube. August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  15. ^ Reeves, Mosi (August 14, 2018). "Review: Nicki Minaj Protects Her Crown on 'Queen'".
  16. ^ "Nicki Minaj Reclaims Her Throne On 'Queen'".
  17. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (August 13, 2018). "Nicki Minaj: Queen review – uneasy coronation for rap's manic monarch". the Guardian.
  18. ^ "Nicki Minaj: Queen Album Review - Pitchfork".
  19. ^ Amorosi, A.D. (August 11, 2018). "Album Review: Nicki Minaj's 'Queen'".
  20. ^ "Review: Nicki Minaj's "Barbie Dreams" is Hilariously Rude". August 10, 2018.
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  31. ^ "The Hot 100". Billboard. September 1, 2018.
  32. ^ "The Hot 100". Billboard. September 8, 2018.
  33. ^ "Nicki Minaj Exudes Royalty With Her Queen-Sized Medley at the 2018 MTV VMAs: Watch".
  34. ^ "Cher, Nicki Minaj and Fleetwood Mac to Appear as Guests On New Season Of 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'".
  35. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #486". auspOp. August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  36. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  37. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  38. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  39. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  40. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201834 into search. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  41. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker – Vecka 33, 17 augusti 2018". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  42. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  43. ^ Trust, Gary (August 20, 2018). "Drake Leads Hot 100 for Sixth Week With 'In My Feelings,' Moves Closer to Most Weeks at No. 1 in a Year". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  44. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  45. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  46. ^ "American single certifications – Barbie Dreams". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 14, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  47. ^ "Barbie Dreams by Nicki Minaj on Spotify". August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  48. ^ "Barbie Dreams by Nicki Minaj on iTunes". August 10, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.