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Best of 2014: The best and worst lyrics of the year

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When it comes to pop lyrics, every year has its ups and downs, and 2014 seemed to have higher highs and lower lows than most. We had the vivid imagery of Pharrell’s “Me and 20 girls doing yoga naked” from Future’s “Move That Dope” that reminded us of everything we fell in love with Pharrell for in the first place, and the sublime simplicity of Bobby Shmurda’s “About a week agooooo.” Then again we had the ugly “Loyal” following us everywhere, as well as Kevin Gates’s domestic violence apologia “Posed to Love Me” that counteracted most of those happy feelings.

After a wild and weird year in pop, we’ve picked five of the best and five of the worst lines that came our way.

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Nicki Minaj releases Nazi-free, live-action 'Only' video

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The thing about Nicki Minaj’s “Only” is that it’s a weird single. There’s the beat, which takes the trend for minimalist rap beats to such an extreme that parts of the song are practically a cappella. And there’s the complicated interplay between Nicki and her guest stars and Young Money labelmates Drake and Lil Wayne, which twists the usual pop-song sexual dynamics into kinky new shapes with a passing resemblance to the dominatrix-slave relationship. And then there’s all the strangeness that the song has acquired since it was released at the end of October, including its seemingly Nazi-themed animated lyric video and the guest star Chris Brown’s very messy, very public breakup with girlfriend Karrueche Tran for apparently Drake-related reasons.

“Weird,” then, is a fitting theme of the official live-action “Only” video, which is piled high with music video shorthand for bizarreness. Here’s a bunch of injured dudes in wheelchairs! There’s Chris Brown in the kind of creepy colored contacts that juggalos love! Dominatrixes! Eyes Wide Shut masks! Superfluous metal shelving!

The other thing about “Only” is that it’s straight fire, and even if the video tries a little too hard to seem “edgy,” it also has Nicki propped up majestically on a pair of crazy heels doing Nicki things. So it still gets an A.

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Hear the leaked Nicki Minaj-Beyonce collaboration 'Feeling Myself'

As Beyoncé so succinctly puts it, “World stop… carry on”: “Feeling Myself,” probably one of the most exciting tracks off of Nicki Minaj’s new album The Pinkprint, has leaked online.

The song, which you can hear here, features Beyoncé singing about when she dropped her self-titled album last year to the surprise of just about everyone, saying she “stopped the world” with her now Grammy-nominated record. READ FULL STORY

2014 was the Year of the Female Rapper

If the past several years have finally proven, without a doubt, that female rappers can compete head-to-head with their male peers—something MC Lyte fans have been aware of for years)—2014 finally proved that those women can outperform their male counterparts.

Aside from Pharrell Williams’s airwave-devouring “Happy,” Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” was the most inescapable song of the year. It spent two more weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart than the two male-led number one rap singles (Eminem’s “The Monster” and Pitbull’s “Timber”) combined—and when Iggy’s Ariana Grande collaboration “Problem” went to number two, she became the only act besides the Beatles to take the top two spots at once with her first two charting tracks. In a year that produced a fair number of newly minted superstars—Grande, Sam Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer—Azalea still managed to get more attention (and hold onto it longer) than any of them.

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Ariana Grande, Beyonce featured on Nicki Minaj's 'The Pinkprint'

Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint doesn’t hit stores until Dec. 15, but the rapper gave fans a look at the track list on Instagram today—and a look at which stars are making guest appearances.

Ariana Grande is one of those guests; Grande and Minaj already worked together on Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” this summer, so this is a reunion of sorts for Grande and Minaj. Minaj also paired up again with Beyonce, who she collaborated with on August’s “Flawless” remix, for “Feeling Myself.”

Other tracks include the already-released “Only” featuring Drake, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown, along with two songs featuring Meek Mill and one featuring Skylar Grey, the writer behind Rihanna and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie.” READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, more to perform at American Music Awards

Lorde, Fergie, and One Direction are already set to perform at this year’s American Music Awardsand the roster just got bigger: Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, Lil Wayne, Wyclef Jean, and Magic! will also be performing. READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj's 'Only' director won't apologize for lyric video's Nazi imagery

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Nicki Minaj apologized to viewers who noticed Nazi imagery in the lyric video for her latest song, “Only,” but the video’s director isn’t quite as remorseful. In fact, he’s not remorseful at all.

“First, I’m not apologizing for my work,” Jeff Osborne, the director of “Only,” told MySpace, “nor will I dodge the immediate questions. The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism.” READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj apologizes for 'Only' video: 'I'd never condone Nazism in my art'

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The lyric video for Nicki Minaj’s “Only” features cartoon versions of Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown—and imagery that some claim is a reference to Nazism.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, “the video evokes the style of Nazi propaganda films and portrays Minaj as a military dictator surrounded by red banners resembling those used by the Nazi Party during World War II.” Minaj says this wasn’t on purpose, though: “The artist who made the lyric video for ‘Only’ was influenced by a cartoon on Cartoon Network called ‘Metalocalypse’ & Sin City,” she wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
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Nicki Minaj and some other, less important guys release 'Only'

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Yesterday it was announced that the release of Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint will be pushed back from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15, but to make up for it, she’s released a new single, “Only,” whose bonkers cover art (featuring cartoon portraits of Minaj in some kind of leather bodysuit and Drake in a pope hat) she’d previously teased on Twitter.

It features verses by Drake and Lil Wayne, a hook by Chris Brown, and a beat by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and J Mike, but Minaj’s rap is far and away the best part about it. It starts with her refuting the long running rumors that she traded sex for support from Wayne and Drake, then uses a hypothetical menage á trois to assert sexual dominance over both of them, seeming to claim the alpha spot on the Young Money/Cash Money roster, and neither one of her teammates can do much to change that perception.

You can hear it here.

 

Nicki Minaj's 'The Pinkprint' pushed back to December 15

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You know Nicki Minaj’s self-proclaimed answer to Jay Z’s The Blueprint we’ve been waiting so long for? Well, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

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