Chun-Li (song)

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"Chun-Li"
The cover art features torso of Nicki Minaj, seated, wearing bikini and a fur jacket, with chinese hairstyle. The single title appears written both the sides about her.
Single by Nicki Minaj
from the album Queen
ReleasedApril 12, 2018 (2018-04-12)
Format
RecordedApril 2018
Studio
GenreHip hop
Length3:11
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • J. Reid
  • Nicki Minaj (co.)
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Barbie Tingz"
(2018)
"Chun-Li"
(2018)
"Ball for Me"
(2018)
Music video
"Chun-Li" on YouTube

"Chun-Li" is a song by American rapper Nicki Minaj from her fourth studio album, Queen (2018). It was released as the lead single of the album on April 12, 2018, by Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records. It was written and produced by Minaj and Jeremy Reid. Commercially, the song has peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, reached the top 20 in Canada, and the top 30 in France and the United Kingdom. It won a Best Hip-Hop Video award at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.[1]

Background and release[edit]

In March 2017, Minaj released a three-single pack that included "Changed It" with Lil Wayne, "No Frauds" with Drake and Wayne, and "Regret in Your Tears". She then did a number of collaborations with other artists throughout 2017, before starting a social media hiatus on December 31. On April 10, 2018, Nicki Minaj announced on Instagram that she will be releasing two new songs: "Barbie Tingz" and "Chun-Li" on April 12, and also posted cover artworks of the respective singles.[2][3] "Chun-Li", which takes its name from Street Fighter character of the same name,[4] was released alongside the buzz single "Barbie Tingz" as a part of Minaj's upcoming fourth studio album Queen (2018) and made available for streaming and digital download on April 12 by Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records.[2][3] The release of songs landed on the 10th anniversary of Minaj's second mixtape, Sucka Free (2008).[5] On May 30, Minaj posted a video showing the making of the song, in preview of her upcoming documentary titled The Making of Queen (2018).[6]

Production[edit]

"Chun-Li" was produced by Atlanta-native producer J. Reid for Chevi Muzic, alongside Minaj who was credited as a coproducer. According to him, Minaj wanted to deliver the type of "boom-bap" flavored beats that are reminiscent of New York City hip hop. The song is sonically built on slapping, percussion and sparse soundbeads. Minaj linked with Reid in late December 2017, and later explained to him what kind of beat she wanted for the song: She proceeded to rap it and give him the vibe. He made about 13 different beats, and Minaj picked out one. The song was done in early April 2018, including writing, production, mixing and mastering.[5]

Lyrically, Minaj "rails" against online detractors in the track. "They need rappers like me! So they can get on their fucking keyboards and make me the bad guy, Chun-Li," she declares in the second interlude.[7]

Music videos[edit]

A vertical music video for the song was released on April 13, 2018, via Minaj's YouTube channel. It is a video montage of videos filmed by Minaj while holding her phone vertically. In the visual, Minaj recites the lyrics of the song while posing on a couch, but relinquishes control of her phone for a couple of runway-like shots.[8]

On April 27, Minaj released a teaser to promote the official music video. However, she confirmed on her Instagram that the teaser was not related in any way to the music video and is rather a video of her and Aliya Janell, the choreographer of the official video, doing a freestyle dance to the song.[9]

The full accompanying video of the song was released on May 4.[10] It was directed by Steven Klein of Good Company Pictures.[11] It features Asian futuristic/superhero-inspired outfits.[12] Its music video won the Best Hip-Hop Video at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards,[13] and was nominated for Best Hip-Hop at the MTV Europe Music Awards. It has over 100 million views on YouTube.

Critical reception[edit]

Bianca Gracie of Billboard said "Minaj sounds cocky in the best way […] she resurrects her Nicki the Ninja alter-ego by assassinating the horn-driven beat with her lyrical wordplay, switching accents with ease."[14] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times said, "these are sparring records–loose, pugnacious, a little uncentered […] "Chun-Li" swaggers with the authority of the mid-90s. As is the norm, Ms. Minaj aims shots at unnamed antagonists, but in the past, that bluster felt truly targetless. But now, for the first time since the beginning of her career, there's someone who might plausibly shoot back, and win."[15] John Kennedy from XXL said the song is "open enough for Nicki [Minaj] to get her bars off à la her mixtape days."[5]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Chun-Li" debuted at number 92 on the US Billboard Hot 100 after a day of tracking, with 20,000 downloads sold and 3.5 million streams, and four days of radio airplay.[16] It ascended to number 10 the following week, selling 38,000 copies and earning 22.1 million streams.[17] The song became Minaj's sixth top 10 entry as a lead artist–and her first solo single to enter that region since "Anaconda" in 2014–and 16th overall, extending her record for most top 10 singles among female rappers.[18] "Chun-Li" also logged the greatest jump on the Hot 100, 82 positions, since Katy Perry's "Roar" (2013) jumped 83 spots following a full tracking week.[17] It fell 38 positions to number 48 in its third week.[19] On its fifth week, the song re-entered the top 20 of the chart jumping to number 19. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on July 30, 2018 for 1 million equivalent units moved.[20]

Outside the United States, "Chun-Li" reached the top 20 in Canada and the top 30 in France and the United Kingdom.

Live performances[edit]

Minaj first performed "Chun-Li" live during Future’s set at Rolling Loud Festival in Miami on May 13, 2018.[21] She also performed the song during her Saturday Night Live season finale appearance on May 19.[22] She performed a medley of "Chun-Li" and "Rich Sex" on the BET Awards 2018 held on June 23.[23]

Other versions[edit]

American rappers Juelz Santana,[24] BlocBoy JB,[25] and Baby Soulja[26] recorded their own freestyles over the song's beat.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from Queen album liner notes.[27]

Recording

Personnel

  • Nicki Minaj – vocals, co-production
  • J. Reid – production
  • Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine – record engineering
  • Laura Bates – record engineering assistance
  • Iván Jiménez – record engineering assistance
  • Chris Athens – mastering

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[28] 54
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[29] 18
France (SNEP)[30] 30
Ireland (IRMA)[31] 65
New Zealand Heatseekers (RMNZ)[32] 2
Portugal (AFP)[33] 100
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[34] 23
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[35] 9
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[36] 99
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[37] 26
US Billboard Hot 100[38] 10
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[39] 6
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[40] 7

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[41] Gold 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[42] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[43] 2× Platinum 2,000,000double-dagger

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

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various April 12, 2018 [44] [45]
United States April 2018 Rhythmic contemporary radio [46]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nicki Minaj Wins". XXLMAG. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Nicki Minaj Posts New 'Chun Li' and 'Barbie Tingz' Teasers". Billboard. April 10, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  3. ^ a b India, Lindsey (April 10, 2018). "Nicki Minaj to Drop New Songs "Chun-Li" and "Barbie Tingz"". XXL. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "Nicki Minaj's 'Chun-Li' isn't really about Chun-Li". Polygon. April 12, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Kennedy, John (April 16, 2018). "Studio Session: Why Producer J. Reid Channeled Boom-Bap for Nicki Minaj's New Singles". XXL. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  6. ^ "Watch Nicki Minaj Create "Chun-Li" in Preview of New Documentary". XXL. May 30, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  7. ^ Schatz, Lake (April 12, 2018). "The Queens-raised rapper returns with not one, but two flashy cuts". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Kreps, Daniel (April 14, 2018). "Watch Nicki Minaj's Selfie Video for 'Chun-Li'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Nicki Minaj Has Released a Teaser Video for "Chun Li"". Marie Claire. April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  10. ^ "Nicki Minaj Releases "Chun-Li" and "Barbie Tingz" Visuals". The Source. May 4, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  11. ^ "Nicki Minaj Delivers Her Dance-Heavy Videos For "Chun-Li" & "Barbie Tingz"". Genius. May 4, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  12. ^ "Nicki Minaj – Chin Li (Official Video)". Beating Beats. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  13. ^ "Music Video After MTV". 2017-05-18. doi:10.4324/9781315617565.
  14. ^ Gracie, Bianca (April 13, 2018). "Nicki Minaj's 'Barbie Tingz' & 'Chun-Li' Are the Return to Form We've Been Waiting For". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Caraminaca, Jon (April 13, 2018). "The Playlist: Nicki Minaj Is Ready to Rumble, and 11 More New Songs". The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  16. ^ Zellner, Xander. "Nicki Minaj's 'Barbie Tingz' & 'Chun-Li' Debut on Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Trust, Gary (April 23, 2018). "Drake's 'Nice for What' Holds Atop Billboard Hot 100, Nicki Minaj's 'Chun-Li' Vaults to Top 10". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  18. ^ "Nicki Minaj's 'Chun-Li' Is Her First Solo Hot 100 Top 10 Since 'Anaconda' in 2014". Billboard. April 24, 2017. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  19. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  20. ^ "'Chun Li' from Nicki Minaj is Officially Platinum | The Source". The Source. 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  21. ^ "Watch Future Bring Out Nicki Minaj at Rolling Loud". Pitchfork. May 14, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  22. ^ "Watch Nicki Minaj Bring 'Chun-Li,' Playboi Carti to 'SNL'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  23. ^ Reed, Ryan (June 25, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Performs Intense 'Chun Li,' 'Rich Sex' at BET Awards". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  24. ^ "Juelz Santana Freestyles Over Nicki Minaj's "Chun Li"". XXL. May 8, 2018. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  25. ^ "BlocBoy JB Drops a Freestyle Over Nicki Minaj's "Chun-Li"". XXL. May 25, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  26. ^ "Baby Soulja - Chun Li (Freestyle)". Spinrilla. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  27. ^ Queen (CD). Nicki Minaj. Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records/Republic Records. 2018. 602567809920.
  28. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #469". Auspop. April 21, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  29. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  30. ^ "Lescharts.com – Nicki Minaj – Chun-Li" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  31. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Nicki Minaj". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  32. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. April 23, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  33. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Nicki Minaj – Chun-Li". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  34. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  35. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker – Vecka 16, 20 april 2018". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  36. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Nicki Minaj – Chun-Li". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  37. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  38. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  39. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  40. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  41. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Nicki Minaj – Chun-Li". Music Canada. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  42. ^ "British single certifications – Nicki Minaj – Chun-Li". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 16, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Chun-Li in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  43. ^ "American single certifications – Nicki Minaj – Chun-Li". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 30, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  44. ^ "Chun-Li by Nicki Minaj on Spotify". August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  45. ^ "Chun-Li by Nicki Minaj on ITunes". August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  46. ^ "All Access". October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.

External links[edit]