Nicki Minaj’s Isla Bonita



The technical aspects of space-travel elude normal folk like us. Fortunately, Nicki Minaj is the opposite of normal (and, for that matter, most varieties of abnormal). In the video for “Starships,” the bombastic pop-hip-hop concoction from this month’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Minaj drops some extraterrestrial knowledge—on vacation.

The Young Money Queen beams herself onto a non-descript paradise populated with raucous island people clad in neon swimwear and trapped in a trippy Garnier Fructis shower hallucination. Purple smoke pours from gorges, platinum obelisks jut out from the earth, and paint erupts from some unknown location.

Minaj lets loose manic verses amid beach lounging and nighttime dance parties shot with an infrared camera. “I’m on the floor,” she sneers. Shore? Floor? Who cares? Funky guitar and sweaty synths track Minaj’s island party/alien invasion—”California Gurls,” anyone? The chorus breaks are especially anthemic. The camera cuts quicker, the dancing gets raunchier, and the neon gets brighter as the island goddess tells us to overcome in her own special way. “Starships are meant fly,” she croons.

The video closes with a patented Nicki Minaj snarl. Surely her sheet-metal kite—sorry, spacecraft—hovers gently above the tide somewhere. She’ll get it in the morning.