Last year, Nicki Minaj treated her fans to “Pink Fridays” where she dropped new music and videos to go with them on Fridays, leaving the dedicated Barbz thirsty for more. 2023 is proving no different as the Queen of Rap surprised fans by hopping on a Soca remix to celebrate the Carnival of Trinidad and Tobago during one of her (in)famous social media hiatuses.
Here we are, a mere few weeks later, with a brand new Nicki Minaj song and possibly a new alter-ego as well. It remains to be seen if Red Ruby will remain a fixture in Minaj’s quiver of characters, especially since she seems to be the real bad guy counterpart to the Chun-Li character which Nicki introduced us to in 2018. Chun-Li is a fictional character from the classic video game Mortal Kombat. Minaj utilized this character during the 2018 hate train to convey her feelings about being portrayed as the salty bad guy who didn’t want any other females to be rappers. The point being here that she’s not the bad guy just because people painted her to be that way.
Meet Nicki’s Newest Alter-Ego: Red Ruby Da Sleeze
In the 2023 single “Red Ruby Da Sleeze”, released on Friday, March 3, Nicki takes a different approach, leaning into the “bad guy” persona and actually getting a little nasty with her ops in the lyrics.
The track, produced by Go Grizzly and Cheeze Beatz, opens up with the all too familiar and very nostalgic clapping and “uh-ohhhhh” from the 2003 hit “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)” by Lumidee. However, unlike 2022’s “Super Freaky Girl”, “Red Ruby Da Sleeze” does not utilize Lumidee’s track in its entirety. There is a significant drop and switch-up following the first verse of the song, giving listeners a dynamic experience.
Reconfirming her Queen status, Minaj only gives the listeners four bars to catch the beat before going in hard with her bars.
Verse one is incredibly unapologetic, with lines like:
Chinese on my sleeves/These wanna be Chun Li’s
Anyway, nǐ hǎo/Who the fuck told bitches they was me now?
I knew these bitches was slow/I ain’t know these bitches senile
The Queen also cleverly references a line from Good Form in the pre-chorus, stating:
Gotta be careful when I dip, it’s flips all in the whip
(Which seems to be a call back to this line from 2018:
So he tryna smash like when the whip flips
Then, the track switches up the beat for the chorus and bridge before going back to the 2003 vibe for the second verse. And, it is obvious at this point isn’t the song that, despite the similarities in appearance, Red Ruby Da Sleeze is NOT Chun-Li. She is NOT the good guy being misconstrued, Red Ruby seems to be the person who Chun-Li was made out to be.
Verse 2 is brutal, with bars such as:
When the queen, leave bitches wanna come out like a cockroach
Until I’m cooking in the kitchen like a pot roast
That new Spectre, we don’t feel pot holes
All them, all them botched face photos, why would you post those?
The track closes out with Lumidee’s original chorus of:
If you want me to stay
I’ll never leave
Which is about a love interest in the original song, but very clearly seems to be a reference to the fact that, despite the attempts made to dethrone her, the Queen is not going anywhere, especially when her fans and the rappers emulating her while simultaneously dissing her, cannot seem to get enough of the allegedly retired rapper.
After Nicki Minaj’s illustrious, 16-year (and counting) career as a solo rapper, it would be easy enough for her to slip into a musical routine, just play the hits, or to stop reaching the bar that she, herself, set for Hip-Hop all those years ago. However, that is not Nicki Minaj’s mode of operations, never has been, and never will be.
Amidst the speculation of if, and when the legendary rapper will release her fifth studio album, “Red Ruby Da Sleeze” stands proudly on its own. The single shows off the artist’s versatility while handing out heavy-handed bars and setting the narrative straight on just exactly why Minaj is a cut above the rest.