Pills n Potions

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"Pills N Potions"
Pills N Potions.jpg
Single by Nicki Minaj
from the album The Pinkprint
ReleasedMay 21, 2014 (2014-05-21)
FormatDigital download
Recorded2013-14 (2013-14)
StudioLuke's in the Boo (Malibu, California); Record Plant (Hollywood)[1]
Genre
Length4:28
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Lookin Ass"
(2014)
"Pills N Potions"
(2014)
"She Came to Give It to You"
(2014)

"Pills N Potions" is a song by American rapper and singer Nicki Minaj from her third studio album, The Pinkprint (2014). It was released on May 21, 2014 by Young Money, Cash Money, and Republic Records as the lead single from the album. Minaj collaborated with Cirkut, Dr. Luke, and Ester Dean during the songwriting process, while Cirkut and Dr. Luke produced it.[1]

Commercially, the song peaked at number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and within the top 40 in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The song's accompanying music video was directed by Diane Martel, who Minaj has previously worked with, and was released on June 9, 2014.[3] Minaj promoted the song by performing it live at the BET Awards 2014.[4]

Background and release[edit]

"What that felt like to me was forgiveness, you know, and just understanding that everybody gets mad, but when you love somebody, I feel like you'll always love them. I don't feel like there's ever been somebody that I loved that I no longer love, I just may not be able to live with you or have you in my life, and that's really what the song is about."

—Minaj describing the concept behind "Pills n Potions".[5]

Minaj first mentioned the song in her promo single, "Yasss Bish" which features Soulja Boy. She stated that the single would be released in two weeks.[6][vague] She revealed the title of the song at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards and afterwards hosted a Q&A on Twitter where she revealed information regarding the single.[7] In an interview for Rap-Up, she stated that "Pills n Potions" was "uplifting" and "very soulful".[8] Speaking to Billboard, she explained: "It sounds like urgency, It sounds like betrayal. It sounds like running. It sounds like fainting. It sounds like love. It sounds like – *gasp!*"[9] On May 19, 2014, Minaj revealed the single's cover art on Instagram.[10]

On May 21, 2014, Minaj premiered "Pills n Potions" on SoundCloud, with song being available for purchase on iTunes later that day. She promoted the single by means of several radio interviews throughout the United States, including Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club, KIIS-FM's On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Hot 97's morning show, Z100 with Elvis Duran and the Morning Show and a sit down interview for Power 106's The Big Boy's Neighborhood Morning Show.[11]

Composition[edit]

"Pills n Potions" is a piano ballad "framed in the druggy imagery of mixtape rap".[9][12] Chris Payne of Billboard said the song coupled a chorus "reminiscent of a Rihanna ballad" with rapped verses.[9] Kory Grow of Rolling Stone opined that the song shows Minaj "sublimely (and maturely) rising above her detractors, even singing that she still loves them."[13]

The song opens with a sparse, haunting drum beat, while Minaj sings the pre-chorus in a feather-like near-whisper, "Pills 'n potions, we're overdosin'/I'm angry but I still love you". As the pre-chorus repeats, an echo effect is added to her vocals, and "blooming" chants of "I still love, I still love, I still lu-uh-uhhhv" are sung to create the song's chorus.[9] During the verses Minaj raps with a sense of urgency, however, the first verse is kept restrained as she raps about someone who wronged her, "They could never make me hate you/Even though what you was doin' wasn't tasteful/Even though you out here looking so ungrateful/I'mma keep it movin' be classy and graceful." She later says that she'll "forgive and forget", but knows that they're jealous of her success: "But I spin off in a Benzie/I see the envy when I'm causin' a frenzy".[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Zach Frydenlund of Complex called "Pills n Potions" a "monster of a song", and explained, "Nicki shows—once again—how she can delicately balance pop and hip-hop, while spitting true to her 'real rap' promise to fans".[2] Chris Payne of Billboard felt Minaj was sincere in her delivery of the song's personal lyrics, and went on to call it a "crowd pleaser" with something for every listener to enjoy.[9] Gil Kaufman of MTV News wrote that the song was "actually a huge move back into the pop game, setting Minaj up for what could be her biggest cross-over hit to date".[14] Although Marc Hogan of Spin found the song's message confusing, but praised Minaj's rapping and said: "when we hear that Rihanna-like 'I still lo-uh-uh-ve' hook blasting out of car windows this summer? We'll probably still lo-uh-uh-ve it."[12] Kory Grow of Rolling Stone noted that "Pills n Potions" was the "diametric opposite" of Minaj's previous single, "Lookin Ass".[13] XXL featured the song on their mid-year list of 25 Best Songs of 2014 (So Far), commenting that "despite the slow tempo of the song, Nicki was still able to supply her classic witty lines with a hard undertone".[15]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Pills n Potions" was released on June 9, 2014 on YouTube. American rapper The Game makes a cameo appearance.[16] As of October 2018, the video has more than 192 million views.

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, "Pills n Potions" debuted at number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending June 7, 2014; it sold 84,000 copies and amassed 709,000 domestic streams within its first four days of release.[17] It went on to peak at number 24 on the chart.[18] As of December 2014, the song has sold 622,000 copies in the United States.[19]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[20] 14
Australia Urban (ARIA)[21] 3[not in citation given]
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[22] 14
Belgium Urban (Ultratop Flanders)[23] 13
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[24] 8
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 53
France (SNEP)[26] 71
Germany (Official German Charts)[27] 39
Ireland (IRMA)[28] 29
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[29] 17
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[30] 29
South Africa (EMA)[31] 9
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[32] 31
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[33] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 24
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[34] 7
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[35] 10

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[36] Platinum 70,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[37] Silver 200,000double-dagger

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

Credits and personnel[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
United States May 21, 2014 Digital download [38]
Canada [39]
United Kingdom [40]
United States June 10, 2014 Rhythmic contemporary [41][not in citation given]
July 1, 2014 Contemporary hit radio [42][not in citation given]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Pinkprint (Media notes). Nicki Minaj. Mexico: Cash Money Records. 2014. p. 6-7. 4708787.
  2. ^ a b Frydenlund, Zach (May 21, 2014). "Listen to Nicki Minaj's "Pills N Potions"". Complex. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  3. ^ Brandle, Lars. "Nicki Minaj Releases Video For 'Pills N Potions'". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Wete, Brad (June 29, 2014). "Nicki Minaj Brings 'Pills N Potions' to 2014 BET Awards". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "Nicki Minaj Premieres 'Pills N Potions' Video, Co-Starring Game". BET. June 10, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2014. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  6. ^ Pollard, Alexandra (May 3, 2014). "Listen: Nicki Minaj reveals new song 'Yasss Bish!!' feat. Soulja Boy". Gigwise. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  7. ^ Valentino Ball, G. (May 21, 2014). "Nicki Minaj Holds Twitter Q&A on 'Pills N Potions'". XXL. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  8. ^ "New Music: Nicki Minaj – 'Pills N Potions'". Rap-Up. May 21, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e Payne, Chris (May 21, 2014). "Nicki Minaj Drops 'Pills N Potions,' Her New Dr. Luke-Produced Single". Billboard. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  10. ^ "Nicki Minaj Reveals 'Pills N Potion' Single Artwork". Vibe. May 19, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "Nicki Minaj Talks Forbes Iggy Azalea Article, Jay Z's 'Blueprint,' & Remy Ma". Rap-Up. May 21, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Hogan, Marc (May 21, 2014). "Nicki Minaj Holds Onto Love (and Pop) on 'Pills N Potions'". Spin. Retrieved May 21, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b Grow, Kory (May 21, 2014). "Nicki Minaj Spreads the Love in New Ballad 'Pills N Potion'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil (May 21, 2014). "Nicki Minaj Sings Sweetly On 'Pills N Potions': Listen Here". MTV News. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  15. ^ "The 25 Best Songs Of 2014 (So Far)". XXL. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Nicki Minaj - Pills N Potions". VEVO. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  17. ^ Mendizabal, Amaya. "Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill & Robin Thicke Debut In Top 40 On Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  19. ^ "The Big 9 in 2014: Republic". Hits Daily Double. December 12, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  20. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Nicki Minaj – Pills n Potions". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  21. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 40 Urban Singles Chart". ARIA Charts. Archived from the original on August 13, 2013.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Nicki Minaj – Pills n Potions" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  23. ^ "Ultratop.be – Nicki Minaj – Pills n Potions" (in Dutch). Ultratop Urban. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  24. ^ "Ultratop.be – Nicki Minaj – Pills n Potions" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  25. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  26. ^ "Lescharts.com – Nicki Minaj – Pills n Potions" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  27. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Nicki Minaj – Pills n Potions". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  28. ^ "Chart Track: Week 26, 2014". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  29. ^ "Charts.nz – Nicki Minaj – Pills n Potions". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  30. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  31. ^ "EMA Top 10 Airplay: Week Ending 2014-09-09". Entertainment Monitoring Africa. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  33. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  34. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  35. ^ "Nicki Minaj Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  36. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  37. ^ "British single certifications – Nicki Minaj". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Nicki Minaj in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  38. ^ "Pills N Potions – Single by Nicki Minaj". iTunes Store (US). Archived from the original on September 22, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  39. ^ "Pills N Potions – Single by Nicki Minaj". iTunes Store (CA). Retrieved May 22, 2014.[dead link]
  40. ^ "Pills N Potions – Single by Nicki Minaj". iTunes Store (GB). Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  41. ^ "Top 40 Rhythmic Future Releases". All Access. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  42. ^ "Available For Airplay". FMQB. Retrieved December 8, 2014.