A lot of my friends just can’t get past Kanye West‘s outsize personality, and I think that’s a damn travesty. He’s not just a good rapper and producer; he’s a bonafide superstar with the gravity to pull in a who’s-who of incredible artists. He might shine too bright in public for your tastes, but he shines even brighter on record.
Despite all this, I’m a firm believer that one listen to Monster should be all anyone needs to become a fan. For this track from his 2009 opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye’s managed to corral Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and most notably Nicki Minaj for set of ferocious verses that more than justify the name.
This tune is one of the best posse cuts I’ve ever heard. It’s on par with a lot of great Wu-Tang material; just flawless verse after flawless verse, a parade of wildly different personalities detonating as one cohesive sound. It’s kind of insane to read just today that West doesn’t think the album is as good as us fans do.
I should note that while I think Rick Ross can be okay, I’ve never been a big Jay-Z fan. He’s got charisma to spare and a great flow, but aside the original Blueprint, I’ve never felt wowed by his music. Despite this fact, Ross’ short opening verse is the perfect introduction and Jay’s turn almost made me go back and re-evaluate his more recent albums. Almost. Don’t worry, I’m not leaving Nicki out.
Monster is an important reminder that Nicki Minaj can drop a seriously hard verse, despite the pop fluff she’s been making in the years since. She’s nimble, shockingly creative, and pulls no punches in her delivey. It’s not often that I’m taken aback, laughing and awed by a boast rap, but she nails it so hard here. Nicki handily blows her male counterparts out of the water with the most thrilling rap of the entire six minute tune. Just look at these lyrics:
OK, first things first I’ll eat your brains
Then I’m a start rocking gold teeth and fangs
Cause that’s what a motherfucking monster do
Hair dresser from Milan that’s the monster do
Monster Giuseppe heel, that’s the monster shoe
Young Money is the roster and a monster crew
And I’m all up, all up, all up in the bank with the funny face
And if I’m fake, I ain’t notice cause my money ain’t
So let me get this straight, wait, I’m the rookie?
But my features and my shows ten times your pay?
50K for a verse, no album out
Yeah, my money’s so tall that my Barbiez got to climb it
Hotter than a Middle Eastern climate, violent
Tony Matterhorn, dutty wine it, wylin’
Nicki on them titties when I sign it
That’s how these niggas so one-track-minded
But really really I don’t give a F-U-C-K
Forget Barbie, fuck Nicki cause she’s fake
She’s on a diet but her pockets eating cheesecake
And I’ll say bride of Chucky is child’s play
Just killed another career, it’s a mild day
Besides ‘Ye, they can’t stand besides me
I think me, you and Am should ménage Friday
Pink wig, thick ass, give them whiplash
I think big, get cash, make them blink fast
Now look at what you just saw, this is what you live for
I’m a motherfucking monster
Well, after that there’s not much to say. If you weren’t a Kanye fan, I hope you at least took a moment to listen to a massive tune where, ironically, his ego wasn’t the star.