Ganja Burn

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"Ganja Burn"
Song by Nicki Minaj
from the album Queen
ReleasedAugust 10, 2018 (2018-08-10)
Producer(s)J. Reid
Music video
"Ganja Burn" on YouTube

"Ganja Burn" is a song recorded by American rapper Nicki Minaj for her fourth studio album, Queen (2018). It was written by Minaj, Jairus Mozee, and Jeremy Reid; while its production was done by the latter. "Ganja Burn" is a reggae-inspired island-pop song, that lyrically finds Minaj defending her position in the music industry, while sending a message about other female rappers. To promote it, an accompanying music video for the song directed by Mert and Marcus was released on August 13.

Background and release[edit]

On August 10, 2018, Minaj revealed the final tracklist for her fourth studio album, Queen, that included a song titled "Ganja Burn" as the opening track.[1] It premiered a few hours later as part of the album on all major music platforms.[2] To promote it, as well as the 18 other tracks from the album, Minaj played the song live on her Beats 1 Queen Radio show with Zane Lowe, and tried to explain the message behind it.[3] The song was originally intended to be titled "Ganja Burn", however when submitting the track listing, Minaj accidentally wrote "Burns" instead. It has since been fixed on iTunes and Spotify.[4] Some lyrics quoted from the track were printed on the Queen merchandise.[5]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Ganja Burn" is a reggae-inspired island-pop song.[6][7] It uses a mid-tempo beat, that was described by The Atlantic as "evoking a beach party ruined by a cold snap."[8] Minaj's recording engineer Big Juice explained the making process of the song saying, "[Minaj] probably freestyled 65%, 75% of the song. She got the beat from her producer J. Reid, head it, told me to load it up and ran in the booth. It was kind of the same with "Chun-Li". She was playing around, singing, “Ganja burn, ganja burn, ganja burn,” and then when she listened back, she was like, "that shit's hard!" I wanna say the hook is still the freestyle she laid when she first stepped in the booth. She pulled that shit out of thin air."[9]

Lyrically, Minaj uses word play to defend her position in the music industry, "You made one dope beat, now you Kanye?/You got a nigga named Jay, now you 'Yoncé?/You got about three stacks, now you André?/...You gotta have real skill, gotta work for that," while sending a message about other female rappers in the music industry.[7][6][10] The song has a simple chorus where Minaj sings about missing an ex, "Every time I get high, I just think about you," and croons, "Ganja burn, ganja burn, ganja burn.” She tweeted soon after the song's release about her dissatisfaction with it, "[I] realized that I hate how low I made the hook," and revealed that she wanted to swap it out.[11][8]

Critical reception[edit]

In The Hollywood Reporter, Jonny Coleman found that "Ganja Burns" was an arbitrary choice for the album, writing "[...] most of the sequencing seems arbitrary here, as if changes were being made up until the last minute and with little actual regard for flow." He concluded that the song was just "[a] filler which could have easily hit the cutting room floor."[12] The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber, expressed his insatisfaction with the verses-chorus matching, asking "[...] what do the verses have to do with the chorus? Why doesn’t the promising arrangement evolve over nearly five minutes? What’s the point, really? All that you really take away is status anxiety."[8] In a positive review, Shamika Sanders of Billboard, praised Minaj's use of word play on the song, writing "At first listen, it sounds like Nicki references Cardi B's rap moniker Bardi when she drops the line 'bury the Barbie,' but that's what's so clever about Nicki's wordplay is her delivery, which is essential to every punch line."[7]

Music video[edit]

An accompanying music video for the song premiered on August 13, 2018. It was directed by Turkish-Welsh duo Mert and Marcus, consisting of Mert Alaş and Marcus Piggott, who previously directed Minaj's video for "Regret in Your Tears" (2017).[13] It matches the same theme of the album cover art, which was also designed by Mert and Marcus.[14] The music video was leaked some weeks before the album release, on August 10.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from Queen album liner notes.[15]



  • Nicki Minaj – vocals
  • J. Reid – production
  • Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine – record engineering
  • Labrinth – record engineering
  • Laura Bates – record engineering assistance
  • Iván Jiménez – record engineering assistance
  • Brian Judd – record engineering assistance
  • Nick Valentin – record engineering assistance
  • Jaycen Joshua – mixing
  • David Nakaji – mixing assistance
  • Ben Milchev – mixing assistance
  • Jairus Mozee – guitars
  • Chris Athens – mastering


Chart (2018) Peak
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[16] 47
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[17] 13
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[18] 67
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 60
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[20] 27


  1. ^ "Nicki Minaj "Queen" Tracklist Feat. Foxy Brown, Eminem, The Weeknd & Lil Wayne". Urban Islandz. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  2. ^ Aswad, Jem (August 10, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Drops Album 'Queen,' Featuring Eminem and The Weeknd, a Week Early". Variety. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  3. ^ Hussein, Wandera (August 10, 2018). "Listen to Nicki Minaj debut her Queen album via Beats 1". The Fader. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  4. ^ "@NICKIMINAJ: Just listened to #GanjaBurns after a long day & realized that I hate how low I made the hook. Gotta get it swapped out. That's like my fave song & I can't let it go out like that😩. Plus I was so sleep deprived I wrote burns instead of burn when they were stressing me 4 tracklist". Twitter.
  5. ^ "Queen Long Sleeve + Album". Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Kim, Michelle (August 11, 2018). "5 Takeaways from Nicki Minaj's New Album, Queen". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Sanders, Shamika (August 15, 2018). "Nicki Minaj's Best Punchlines From The 'Queen' Album". Billboard. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Kornhaber, Spencer (August 15, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Guards a Shrinking Kingdom". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  9. ^ Leight, Elias (August 13, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Freestyled 90-Percent of 'Barbie Dreams' in One Take". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  10. ^ "Fans Convinced That Nicki Minaj Is Dissing Cardi B On New Song 'Ganja Burns'". Capital XTRA. August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  11. ^ Coleman II, Vernon (August 11, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Wants to Swap Out the Hook on "Ganja Burns"". XXL. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Coleman, Jonny (August 11, 2018). "Critic's Notebook: Nicki Minaj's 'Queen' Is a Joyless Mess". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  13. ^ "Nicki Minaj - Ganja Burn". YouTube. August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Saponara, Michael (August 13, 2018). "Nicki Minaj Is Queen of the Desert in New 'Ganja Burn' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  15. ^ Queen (CD). Nicki Minaj. Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records/Republic Records. 2018. 602567809920.
  16. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  17. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  20. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2018.