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Nicki Minaj's New Song Is a "Yikes" Indeed

The rapper's first song since announcing her hiatus falls flat.

Remember last year when Nicki Minaj said she was retiring to "have her family," and how nobody thought her time off would last?

Well, we were right. After a three-month hiatus from social media, Minaj has returned with her first new single of the year, "Yikes." She teased the track on Instagram a few days ago, and received an onslaught of backlash over a certain disconcerting line: "All you b-----s Rosa Parks, uh-oh, get your ass up." Yikes, indeed!

TMZ reports that Anita Peek, executive director of the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute, said the bus boycotter would be "extremely hurt" by the lyric if she were alive today to hear it. Fans were displeased, too, especially since the clip of the track first surfaced on Parks' birthday.

Controversy aside, "Yikes" is Minaj at her least compelling. With the exception of a feisty spoken introduction, her delivery is devoid of emotion. "Yikes, I play tag and you it for life / Yikes, you a clown, you do it for likes," she utters blandly in the chorus, over a minimalistic beat that could belong to any rapper. "Yikes" feels anonymous and tedious; it only affirms that the versatility of her Pink Friday days has run dry. It's time for Minaj to pass the torch.

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MUSIC

Stephen Puth Talks New Single and Working Alongside His Brother

"I mean music, in general, is in a weird but great place."

24-year-old Stephen Puth has dedicated his musical career to navigating the minute intricacies of romantic relationships.

From "Half Gone" to "Sexual Vibe," each of his breakout singles so far has attempted to unravel and understand a different nuanced phase of romance. His latest release, "Look Away," expands further on this theme. "It's not necessarily the first time we fight or fall in love, it's that weird awkward in-between phase leading up to some sort of breakdown," Puth told Popdust. The track, which he co-wrote alongside his brother Charlie Puth, was a complicated endeavor for Stephen to put into words. "We wanted to talk about something universal that everybody goes through," Puth said of the track's creative process. "It's hard to open up about emotion and make a great song out of it." Stephen spoke further with Popdust about the new single and what else we can expect from the up-and-coming pop sensation.

Tell me more about the new song!

People's eyes can tell the whole story in a break-up, and we wanted to take more about that specific moment, that moment right before the breakdown of a relationship.

Does this stem from personal experience?

Everyone always thinks, "This experience must have just happened to the artist, so that's why they're talking about it." But this is really just an accumulation of having both good and bad relationships, and even in the good moments having those times when you look away from each other. I just think everyone can draw from that.

Is this part of a larger body of work?

I'm working on an EP. The music is ready; we're just ironing out all the wrinkles. I want it to come out as soon as possible. I'm excited to grow the fanbase and start touring more. I'm looking forward to all that.

How did you get into music?

My mom was my piano teacher, and I pretty much learned to hate the piano. I went to a very academically rigorous school. So it all culminated in a massive burnout. I taught myself guitar instead, and it became a real big stress reliever for me.

Did you know that you wanted to pursue music professionally?

At the end of college, I was working in finance and had a job set up with that, and then I took some time off from school, and then one day just didn't go back. I couldn't do that for the rest of my life. So I downloaded Pro Tools on my computer, moved to California, and started interning as an assistant at a record label.


When did things start to change for you?

I started working with an Australian artist named Connor Sewell, and next thing I knew I was in Scott Storch's house. It was a very weird process, but I'm glad it all worked out.

Where do you see pop music heading, and what can you bring to the table?

I mean music, in general, is in a weird but great place. I saw some crazy statistic that 100,000 songs of any sort are globally released on a weekly basis or something like that, and that's crazy. But that's also great, because that means anyone can create a stylistic wave. Personally, I wasn't the big pophead growing up; I used to listen to classic rock. So for me, my influences are going to come from there.

Follow Stephen on Instagram and Twitter.