The Boys (Nicki Minaj and Cassie song)

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"The Boys"
Single by Nicki Minaj and Cassie
from the album The Re-Up
Released September 13, 2012
Format Digital download
Recorded 2012
Length 4:09
  • Onika Maraj
  • Jonas Jeberg
  • Jean Baptiste
  • Lillianna Saldaña
  • Anjulie Persaud
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Va Va Voom"
"The Boys"
"Beauty and a Beat"
Cassie singles chronology
"King of Hearts"
"The Boys"
Music video
"The Boys" on YouTube

"The Boys" is a song by Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj and American singer Cassie. It was released on September 13, 2012 by Cash Money, Young Money and Universal Republic as the lead single of the reissue of the former's second studio album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up. The song was served only in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Musically, the song features strong basslines and synthesizers, along with guitar riffs and rapping.

The song was acclaimed by the critics, who complimented Minaj's rapping style and structure and Cassie's inclusion. It has peaked at number twenty on the UK R&B chart and at number 113 on the official UK Singles chart. This is Minaj's last song to be released by Universal Republic Records before the label went defunct and revived Republic Records making all artists from the roster move to Republic label including Minaj herself.

An accompanying music video for "The Boys" premiered on Vevo October 18, 2012, and was teased by Minaj with a behind-the-scenes featurette earlier that month. Directed by Colin Tilley, the colorful cartoonish visuals are set in an imaginary neighborhood.

Background and release[edit]

Minaj confirmed the re-release of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and its lead single in September 2012 at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, telling E! News, "I'm actually going to drop my new single like next week".[1] On September 10, Minaj confirmed the song's title and its inclusion of a guest female artist through Twitter[2] and that a video is planned for the single,[3][4] A day later, Minaj tweeted "Thursday" which is believed to be the release date of the single.[5] The song was released on September 13, 2012, as a digital download from iTunes.[6] It also premiere the same day on US radio station iHeartRadio.[7]

"The Boys" takes origins from a song originally by Cassie called "Money on Love", intended to be the singer's second single from her second studio album, following "King of Hearts".[citation needed] For unknown reasons, the album was delayed and the song was subsequently played for Minaj during sessions for The Re-Up. Minaj decided to keep Cassie's vocals on the song, but re-wrote the majority of the verses and added additional production elements.[citation needed]


The BBC described "The Boys" as having "a mix of dancehall, folk and machine gun beats"[8] It was written by Minaj, Canadian pop singer/songwriter Lillianna Saldaña, produced by Jonas Jeberg, and co-produced by Jean Baptiste.[9] It features a mix of synth swoops, syncopated percussion and gurgling acoustic-guitar arpeggios by Jeberg and Baptiste.[9] It also has a throbbing beat, harsh basslines and hyperactive breaks.[10] Cassie's parts, written by Canadian pop singer Anjulie Persaud,[11][12] are backed up by a guitar line.[13]

The song is about a pithy kiss-off to men who try to buy love with money and jewels.[10] The song's lyrics include references to the songs "Hey Soul Sister" by Train and "Technologic" by Daft Punk. In the lyrical content, it appears to have Nicki rapping her most ferocious lines with examples; "I tell 'em Nicki be chillin'/ I'ma keep hurting their feelings/ Because you'll never be Jordan/ You couldn't even be Pippen/ You couldn't even be trippin'/ You can't afford a vacation/ I'm out in Haiti with Haitians/ I go to Asia with Asians/ You mad dusty/ You a lil' dusty possum/ I just come through with the six like my name was Blossom."[14] According to Djbooth, they recalled the song to have "unpredictable mix of synth swoops, syncopated percussion and gurgling acoustic-guitar arpeggios."[15]

It is in the key of C Minor at a tempo of 109 BPM.

Critical reception[edit]

Gerrick D. Kennedy from the Los Angeles Times commented that Minaj has "married the two styles" of rap and pop with "The Boys", adding that the song "begs for immediate radio play" and is a "fresh reminder of the Minaj tracks her rap fans love."[10] Nate Jones from Popdust gave the song four out of five stars to the song, saying that it is "catchy as hell, but with enough 'credibility'."[13] Rick Florino from ARTISTdirect gave the song five out of five stars, calling it "one of Minaj's best tracks yet and a landmark song for 2012.",[16] thanking Minaj for "changing the game again" and ensured that "the barbz are gonna freak on this one."[16] Robbie Daw from Idolator said that the song "probably won’t shake out as being the most memorable entry into Nicki's canon of jams."[17] Carrie Batten from Pitchfork Media gave it a positive review by saying the song is "a zig-zagging pocket symphony whose bubblegum is so sugary it might actually raise your glycemic index just by hitting your ears."[14] Bradley Stern from MuuMuse was positive, describing the duet "fiery" and "robo-tastic."[18] He also compared the song to her previous singles "Super Bass" and "Stupid Hoe".[18] The Huffington Post stated "The track is actually interesting because it vacillates from rap song to some version of a downtempo singer-songwriter tune."[19]

Music video[edit]


Minaj confirmed that a video was planned for the song during the "Q&A time" of The Re-Up.[3] The music video was shot by Colin Tilley who also shot the music video for "I Am Your Leader". The video was filmed for two days; one for Cassie's shoot, the other for Minaj's on September 21, 2012.[20] A behind-the-scenes video was released on Vimeo on October 3, 2012, showing a colorful pink set. Minaj premiered "The Boys" video on October 18, 2012, through her Vevo channel.[21]


Minaj in colorful salon wearing a pink wig

The colorful video opens with a white fountain flowing with pink liquid, introducing the director Colin Tilley, and the two artists Nicki Minaj and Cassie in the video. The scene changes to a woman reading a newspaper with Minaj's photo on the back of an article with the title "Barber Shop Burns Down After "Freak" Flame-Thrower Accident", then Minaj is quickly seen looking maliciously at the camera indicating her as the culprit. A scene is shown of a man unconsciously knocked out with the sounds of fire alarms in the background. The scene changes to Minaj in a pink car, and men winking at her as she steps out wearing a yellow and pink wig, Minaj and Cassie go through many costume changes throughout the video. Minaj walks down a colorful street rapping with men behind her dressed in pink holding umbrella's. Cassie is shown singing the chorus in the same setting, with men gazing at her in awe, while ostentatiously lusting after her, and women continue to roller skate in the background.[22] The scene then cuts to Cassie in a white bikini in a pink and white polka dotted room with a giant ball of the same pattern. The angle switches to Minaj pulling off in an orange Campaga T-Rex, in a yellow background sporting a blonde wig, a pink bikini, and shades. Minaj joins Cassie in the polka-dotted scene, donning a blue and pink wig this time, and a yellow and black outfit with blue shoes while Cassie continues to sing the chorus. Minaj sensually touches Cassie, dancing in precarious positions along Cassie's waistline & thighs.

Various clips of Minaj and Cassie appear as the chorus goes (including Nicki bouncing on the ball, rapping & so forth).Minaj then starts the second verse inside of a colorful beauty salon, sporting a pink wig, getting her hair done. Dancers are seen doing choreography in the salon and Cassie begins to sing the chorus again while sitting down in the salon, holding a stack of money dressed in a blue men's suit. More clips are shown of Minaj and Cassie throughout the video. Minaj is now rapping the last verse to the song, donning a blonde wig this time, dressed in a denim bra and a skirt, in a crime scene set in a barbershop, with blazing blue flames and unconscious men behind her. Clips of the video scenes are continuously seen of Minaj and Cassie playing. Towards the end of the video Minaj is playing in her hair, and Cassie in another scene sitting on a lips shaped couch and Minaj smiling in her T-Rex. Rolling Stone described the video as "fire and the color pink".[23]

Live performances[edit]

Minaj has performed the single on her Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour.


Chart (2012) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[24] 54
Belgium (Ultratop Urban Flanders)[24] 37
Germany (Deutsche Black Charts)[25] 9
Ireland (IRMA)[26] 95
South Korea International Singles (Gaon)[27] 94
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[28] 101
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[29] 15
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[30] 14
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[31] 41

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
United States[32] September 13, 2012 Digital download
United Kingdom September 14, 2012[citation needed]
United States[33] September 25, 2012 Urban contemporary radio


  1. ^ Nicki Minaj Readies ‘Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up’ for November. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  2. ^ Twitter: 'The Boys' > RT @_SupremeXxX: RT @I_ROMANZOLANSKI: RT @TeamMinajBXTCH: RT @Philly____: @NICKIMINAJ what's the name of the single ? #TheReUp Retrieved September 10, 2012
  3. ^ a b Twitter: Yup! > RT @trillxgod: @NICKIMINAJ #theReUp is a video being shot for the single you're releasing? Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  4. ^ Twitter: There's a female on 1st single! > RT @SUPERBADDBARB: #TheReUp are we gettin female features for the new album @NICKIMINAJ !?!?!? Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  5. ^ Twitter: Thursday Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  6. ^ Twitter: Nicki Minaj ft. Cassie "The Boys" on itunes … EXPLICIT Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  7. ^ Digital Spy Nicki Minaj debuts new single 'The Boys' - listen Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  8. ^ "Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up Review". BBC. 2012-11-27. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  9. ^ a b Nicki Minaj ft. Cassie - The Boys - Listen Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Nicki Minaj takes 'The Boys' to task in new single Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  11. ^ "Anjulie - "The Boys" (Acoustic)". YouTube. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Anjulie on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  13. ^ a b The Singles Bar: Nicki Minaj featuring Cassie, “The Boys” Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Nicki Minaj". Pitchfork. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "Nicki Minaj ft. Cassie - The Boys". Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Nicki Minaj "The Boys" Song Review — 5 out of 5 Stars Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  17. ^, Nicki Minaj & Cassie’s “The Boys”: Listen To The ‘Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up’ Single Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  18. ^ a b "Nicki Minaj Releases Stupid, Fun Video for "The Boys (feat. Cassie)"". MuuMuse. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "'The Boys' Video: Nicki Minaj & Cassie Live In A Very Pink World". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  20. ^ Twitter: At my shoot... Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  21. ^ "Twitter / VEVO: #VEVOPremiere: #TheBoysVideo". Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  22. ^ "Nicki Minaj And Cassie Give 'The Boys' A Show In New Video". MTV News. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "Nicki Minaj and Cassie Burn Up 'The Boys'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  24. ^ a b " – Nicki Minaj + Cassie – The Boys" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  25. ^ "Deutsche Black Charts". Trendcharts. Media Control. Archived from the original on June 22, 2016. 
  26. ^ " - Discography Nicki Minaj". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved February 6, 2016. 
  27. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Chart (Week: September 16, 2012 to September 22, 2012)". Gaon Chart. December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  28. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK 2012". Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Archive Chart: 2012-12-01" UK R&B Chart.
  30. ^ "Nicki Minaj & Cassie – Chart history" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Nicki Minaj & Cassie.
  31. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – December 8, 2012". Billboard. Retrieved February 6, 2016.  (subscription required)
  32. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Boys - Single by Nicki Minaj". 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  33. ^ "Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!". FMQB. Retrieved 2012-10-19.