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Meaning of the song ‘Needle’ by Nicki Minaj feat. Drake

Released: 2023

Features: Drake

“Needle (feat. Drake)” by Nicki Minaj is a power anthem that speaks to asserting independence, self-celebration, and pushing past negativity. Minaj charges headfirst into the track, owning her actions and finding empowerment in perseverance and self-reliance.

In the track, both Nicki and Drake each brilliantly incorporate their personal journeys as immigrants to successful figures in the music industry. Nicki, born in Trinidad, and Drake, originally from Toronto, Canada, echo their rise to the top amidst external skepticism and disbelief. The lyrics, “Immigrant to a boss, bitches bitter and mad,” and “Man ah gwan from Toronto, Canada to OVO,” are clear shout-outs to their journeys from humble beginnings to their current respective statuses as powerhouses in hip-hop.

Nicki’s lyric ‘Poppin’ out like a cork, ducking ’em like Björk’ is a prime example of her lyrical wordplay, using the iconic experimental singer Björk, known for her standout style and fearlessness, as a metaphor for Minaj’s own uniqueness and ability to avoid anything that could hold her back.

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In the refrain, “You’re like a needle, life’s a haystack,” the metaphor describes the uniqueness and rarity of the person she sings to – they stand out like a needle in a haystack. She also uses the metaphor to express the difficult and arduous task of finding something (or someone) truly special in a world filled with mediocrity. It comes with a plea – suggesting that in a world where people can be quick to leave or betray, the person she’s singing to could choose to stay back, indicating a yearning for stability and commitment amidst the chaos.

Drake’s lines “gyal, haffi, gyal, haffi, gyal, haffi give me my ting” is Jamaican Patois, often used in Drake’s music, expressing his pride in his mixed heritage and subtly reminding us of his Canadian-Jamaican roots. It translates to “the girl must, the girl must, the girl must give me my thing” – implying a certain expectation or entitlement.

“Needle (feat. Drake)” showcases Minaj’s trademark confidence and assertiveness, paired with Drake’s smooth delivery, creating a compelling narrative about self-empowerment, resilience, and immovable ambition in the face of adversity. It’s a classic example of how hip-hop reflects personal narratives, cultural elements, and well-crafted metaphors.

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