Photograph courtesy of Instagram.

Everything We Know About Nicki Minaj’s Forthcoming Singles

Minaj dropped amazing cover art for “Barbie Tingz” and Chun-Li,”

by Rachel Tashjian
Apr 11 2018, 5:34pm

Photograph courtesy of Instagram.

As a pop star rapper, Nicki Minaj has a flawless formula: tease with fashion, deliver with the hits. On Tuesday afternoon, she Instagrammed album art for two new singles, “Barbie Tingz” and “Chun-Li,” two stylistically divergent images that display Minaj’s passion for split personalities and alter egos.

Minaj is one of the most talented artists of her generation when it comes to making her music a visual as well as auditory experience through highly constructed looks and personae. (Roman, come back! We miss you!) For these looks, she worked with B. Akerlund, the Swedish-born stylist who is known for her collaborations with Beyonce and Madonna (she pulled that yellow Cavalli dress for “Hold Up,” okay?), as well as Brett Alan Nelson, who has styled Minaj onstage and off since at least last June. Through some Instagram sleuthing, here’s everything we know about the singles and the fashion so far.

On the cover for “Barbie Tingz,” Minaj fronts a group of four women in full silk 18th-century gowns layered over hoodies (yes!) by The Blonds, the theatre-costume-goes-va-va-voom brand that Minaj has previously worn for red carpet appearances and performances. According to Akerlund’s Instagram, Minaj and the women are also wearing jewelry by Moda Operandi favorite Rebecca de Ravenel, Ri Noor, and costume jewelry designer Vicki Sarge, whose pieces look like patisseries Marie Antoinette would have plucked off a Chantilly tray. The women are also wearing creepy masks like this is some kind of haunted masquerade ball. So is the theme of “Barbie Tingz” Barbie-meets-Marie Antoinette? Is Minaj going to reference Annie Lennox’s “Walking On Broken Glass” video, another pre-revolutionary France-themed video? (Remember that her 2010 breakthrough single “Your Love” sampled Lennox’s cover of “No More I Love You’s.”) Personally, I have never been so excited for it to be Thursday at 1 PM Eastern Time!

The second single, “Chun-Li,” is a reference to the Street Fighter character of the same name, who was the first female character in the series and leveraged insane martial arts skills to avenge the death of her father. If “Barbie Tingz” is Minaj having a fabulous and freaky afternoon at Ladurée, “Chun-Li” is Minaj as full around the way girl. Her hair is styled in two big buns, and she wears bamboo earrings and the coveted Fendi-logo fur jacket from the house’s Spring 2018 collection. The pièce de résistance is a custom Fendi logo G-string made by tailor Enrique Urbina. (“Chun-Li” better feature celestial angel voices because that is what I hear when I look at this image.) According to Nelson’s Instagram, Minaj is iced out in rings by Lynn Ban, Erickson Beamon, and Yeprem, and a vintage necklace by Sarara. A few avid rap fans on Twitter pointed out Minaj’s resemblance to Lil Kim squatting in her chiffon leopard robe, and while it is true that Lil Kim did almost everything amazing and important first, this look feels all Minaj’s own. Call us when Minaj is tattooed with the Fendi logo for David LaChapelle's lens—actually, Karl Lagerfeld, can you make that happen for next Milan Fashion Week?

Nicki Minaj
barbie tingz
Marie Antoinette
Karl Lagerfeld