The latest leak to enter our lives? “Top of the World,” an unreleased track by Nicki Minaj. From whence in Nicki’s career it came from before washing up on the Internet shores, no one’s really sure. (Rap Radar thinks it’s pre-Young Money, although that’s one-liner speculation.) Nevertheless, it’s here, and why let it pass without a proper listen? [Fair warning: this version is pitched up.]
Those stabs and wah-wah guitar, not to mention the fairy-tale glissando stuff, aren’t a portent of a new (old?) sound but the raw materials that Nicki magics together into an uplifting groove. In other words, “Top of the World” is the up-with-women song that Nicki was probably due for (or overdue for, if this really is an older track) ever since she seized the Barbie metaphor. The chorus is full of empower-ups like “I remember standing in the mirror, searching for a winner but I didn’t see it in there” and “Now I’m sitting on top of the world–we women, we women, ’cause we’re sitting on top of the world,” and the verses flesh out that zero-to-heroine story.
“Top of the World” doesn’t seem 100% formed–in isolation, the chorus resembles not so much a journey as before-and-after photos. And the “Run the World (Girls)” argument still applies: if women really were sitting on top of the world, the top-ranked YouTube comment wouldn’t be “LIKE THIS IF YOU WOULD GET ON TOP OF NICKI!! ;).” But that’s a post for another site. Nicki Minaj’s got a habit of salvaging lesser tracks by being Nicki Minaj–see: half of Pink Friday. There’s no shortage of detail, technique or sincerity in her verses, and the sound’s breezy enough for us to replay this track all afternoon. Or all summer–if we’re on top of the world, it’s our call.