We wanted “Monster”-level bars, an incredible cameo and a hook that would haunt us in our sleep. Well, the Dr. Luke-produced song co-written by Ester Dean kind of gives us all those things, yet not in the way you’d expect.
After opening with a spare, haunting drum beat, Minaj comes in singing in a feathery, near-whisper about “Pills and potions/We’re overdosin’/I’m angry but I still love you.” The vocals are among the prettiest (and poppiest) we’ve heard from Nicki to date, especially when they get blown up with an echo effect in the second pass, where Nicki adds, “I still love, I still love, I still lu-uh-uhhhv.”
Once the verses start, Nicki has the urgency she promised in her bars, but she holds things at a simmer at first. “They could never make me hate you/Even though what you was doin’ wasn’t tasteful,” she says about someone who did her wrong. “Even though you out here looking so ungrateful/I’mma keep it movin’ be classy and graceful.”
Nicki doesn’t name names, but someone clearly messed her over. And she won’t forget it.
The haunting chorus comes back around, and then Nicki gets back to reminding whoever it is that she’s going to forgive and forget the backstabbers, even though she knows they’re jealous now that she’s had her success. “But I spin off in a Benzie/I see the envy when I’m causin’ a frenzy,” she says, looking down on the haters from her house in the hills.
After coming back hard on the singles “Yasss Bish” and “Chi-Raq,” the nearly four-and-a-half minute “Potions” is actually a huge move back into the pop game, setting Minaj up for what could be her biggest cross-over hit to date.