The thing about Nicki Minaj’s “Only” is that it’s a weird single. There’s the beat, which takes the trend for minimalist rap beats to such an extreme that parts of the song are practically a cappella. And there’s the complicated interplay between Nicki and her guest stars and Young Money labelmates Drake and Lil Wayne, which twists the usual pop-song sexual dynamics into kinky new shapes with a passing resemblance to the dominatrix-slave relationship. And then there’s all the strangeness that the song has acquired since it was released at the end of October, including its seemingly Nazi-themed animated lyric video and the guest star Chris Brown’s very messy, very public breakup with girlfriend Karrueche Tran for apparently Drake-related reasons.
“Weird,” then, is a fitting theme of the official live-action “Only” video, which is piled high with music video shorthand for bizarreness. Here’s a bunch of injured dudes in wheelchairs! There’s Chris Brown in the kind of creepy colored contacts that juggalos love! Dominatrixes! Eyes Wide Shut masks! Superfluous metal shelving!
The other thing about “Only” is that it’s straight fire, and even if the video tries a little too hard to seem “edgy,” it also has Nicki propped up majestically on a pair of crazy heels doing Nicki things. So it still gets an A.