Nicki Minaj’s “Bahm Bahm” is an assertive, hard-hitting banger, filled with sharp lyrics and an unapologetic attitude – a true reflection of her persona. The track is a lyrical exploration of her standing in the rap game, her awareness of her competition, and disregard for those who cannot match her level, all while expressing the bold, fierce sexuality which she confidently owns.
The song begins with Nicki asserting her lyrical prowess – “There I go again kickin’ some dumb flow”. The reference to “Harajuku” is a nod to her Harajuku Barbie alter ego, but here she’s using it to call out imitators, “young ho’s”, who attempt to mimic her style but fall short.
She follows with, “Fronto with the raw, how the gumbo roll / My nigga with the pot, it ain’t gumbo though”, showcasing a clever play on the idea of “cooking” in metaphorical and literal senses, referring to both the creation of music and actual culinary arts. This shows an appreciation for the craftsmanship in both fields.
There’s a direct challenge to competitors with “Man, y’all know that bitch is wack, y’all gon’ tell her or not?”, calling out the fakeness and lack of authenticity in some artists, and her frustration with the industry’s reluctance to address it. She positions herself here as the unwavering truth-teller in a landscape filled with phonies.
Nicki shifts focus to her exalted status and monetary success in the line, “They say my price ridiculous, I don’t like them bitches”. She knows her worth and is unafraid to demand it, while simultaneously disliking those who complain about her high status or cost.
She lays claim to her fierce independence with “We don’t talk on phones, don’t put the cops in business”, a reflection of her street-wise sensibilities and a hint at the coded language and practices often associated with the street culture informing much of hip-hop.
The concluding lines, “Made him eat me, we don’t swap positions”, underscores her dominant sexual prowess and control of her relationships. Here, she’s unfazed by societal expectations around women’s sexuality and portrays a healthy dose of sexual autonomy and power.
Throughout “Bahm Bahm”, Nicki Minaj drives home the point that she is the queen of the game who blazes her own trail. So, whether you’re a fan of her music or not, there’s no denying her status and skill – she’s been enjoying the ride and doesn’t seem to have any plans of slowing down.