As the loyal Barbz are dying for the next studio album from Nicki Minaj, the Queen of rap has wasted no time this year releasing new music and hopping on fresh collabs. “WTF” by YoungBoy Never Broke Again (NBA YoungBoy for short) featuring Nicki Minaj was released on April 7, 2023, and was quickly streamed over one million times on Spotify within the first 72 hours of the song’s release.
Produced by an entire army consisting of Yetty, Kenoe, Yo Benji, Wayv, Dom Wise & D-Roc, the song is short and to the point, clocking in at 2 minutes and 41 seconds, with each artist dominating half of the song. Contrary to the WTF that we are all used to, where the “w” stands for “what”, “WTF” comes with the question of “who” as YoungBoy and Nicki address the ops… again.
WTF Single Review
The first half of the song features NBA YoungBoy’s thoughts on the opposition that he has been facing throughout his career. Though heavily autotuned, “WTF” has a “Do We Have a Problem” vibe, like someone sitting in their studious library, surrounded by mahogany while fire blazes in the ornate fireplace and our protagonists study the crimes against them and come up with a plan of action to nip the disrespect in the bud.
In his verse, YoungBoy lays down biting bars like:
The fuck they think they playin’ with? Bitch, I make millions
I been plannin’ on stackin’ bands ’til my ceilin’
Thinkin’ ’bout my lil’ brother Kendell, I start ventin’
In the second half of the song, Nicki matches YoungBoy’s flow, ditching the stylistic autotune to show off her show-stopping pipes. Staying true to the theme of the song, Minaj lays down lyrics like:
Cross YoungBoy, then you cross the Queen (Queen)
All them internet games turn boys to memes (Memes)
Keep sleepin’ on the team, we gon’ pause your dreams
They want action, tell my niggas, “Cause a scene”
Nicki Minaj’s “WTF” Verse Dissected
Going above and beyond the expectation, the release date of the single brought with it the official visuals for the song as well. In true Nicki Minaj fashion, the visuals for this song are stunning. The music video depicts YoungBoy reflecting on his journey as Nicki teaches a ballet class, one of the most grueling performance arts to learn. The symbolism of this is subtle, yet bold since they are portrayed teaching a prestigious art form, which clearly defines the narrative of this song as a tale of the best of the best reminding their students that they have not yet achieved the skill level of their teachers.
It is a very powerful statement, to say the least. However, at the risk of having my “Barb-Card” revoked and losing the ballet slippers badge on my BarbieScouts sash – this song did not do it for me. “WTF” doesn’t possess the same freshness as the other Nicki Minaj releases of 2023, and doesn’t really leave anything for me to hold onto other than the imagery of the music video. And, given the previous collabs between the two artists, I was expecting more from this new single.
However, Nicki’s respect for YoungBoy is very apparent in this track. Normally, if a collab featuring Nicki doesn’t do it for me, I can count on her verse blowing the rest of the song out of the water. “WTF” is the first collaboration that I can remember where Nicki’s presence doesn’t completely overshadow the song. The way she matches YoungBoy’s flow and energy on this track is commendable (to say the least) and reminds me of John Popper sharing the stage with Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd.)
I will also add that, as a fan, I am growing weary of the “ops-era.” Initially, when songs like “Do We Have a Problem” were released, I ate them up and welcomed the era of standing in our power and setting good personal boundaries. Now, a little over a year later, I feel as though this topic has played out.
In conclusion, “WTF” is the right song for the right people. If you have an “addressing the ops” playlist, this song might even find its way into the mix. Personally, I prefer the collabs like “SFG (Queen Mix)” and “Likkle Miss Remix (Fine Nine Mix)” over songs addressing the ops, but that’s just me. And I have to add that, given time, it is possible that this new track will grow on me. But I am not going to go out of my way to listen to it again.
With a central theme of:
I don’t f*ck with them, I’m too real
I know that this song will give power to those who need it most this year.