Nicki Minaj dropped this trap banger on February 7, 2020. The Pooh Beatz-produced track finds a fiery and confrontational Minaj assuring us all she's still the Queen of Rap.
The song includes jabs at Minaj's ex-boyfriend Meek Mill, with whom she had a heated online exchange leading up to the song's release.
Yikes, I play tag and you It for life
Yikes Yikes, you a clown, you do it for likes
The lyric is a reference to Stephen King's 1986 horror novel It, whose main character, Pennywise, is a clown.
After Meek said that that he liked a meme that took a shot at Minaj's husband, Kenneth Petty, the Queen's MC lashed out at her former boyfriend on social media. She called the Philly rapper a clown and alleged he abused her, his sister and his mother. Minaj further ridiculed the Dreams and Nightmares hitmaker by showing old photos of him in 2017 wearing feminine-looking pants. Sources claim Minaj delayed the song so that she could add the shots at Meek.
When Minaj first teased the song on her Twitter on February 4, 2020, she received a backlash for a reference to Rosa Parks. The release of the snippet was not good timing - it coincided with the late civil rights activist's 107th birthday. The Rap Queen didn't care: She responded saying, "Never said this. Had no clue anyone was mad. Don't care. #Yikes."
When Minaj first teased "Yikes" online, she had only penned one verse. Such was the response she felt pressured by her label bosses to finish the song and release it. "I was playing a snippet for my crazy fans and they made me put it out," she explained in a Twitter Q&A.
Minaj stepped into the booth and improvised the hook, after hearing the beat for the very first time. She rapped both verses after writing them down on paper beforehand, but also freestyled the outro.