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Will.I.Am ft. Nicki Minaj - 'Check It Out'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:44 UK time, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Will.I.Am and Nicki MInaj

Oh come on, throw me a bone here, people! I LIKE you! I like BOTH of you! I was listening to 'Boom Boom Pow' only this morning, after a relatively long absence from the thing, and marvelling yet again at just how perfect a production it is. That wailing whooshy noise that runs through the whole damn thing, that's basically ART, that is. And that's before you take in the sheer sumptuous whoomp of the bass drum, Fergie tearing her throat out, Will doing something unspeakable with a leprechaun, it's all fantastic.

In marked contrast there's this. A meeting of two mighty talents, a sample from an international No.1 hit single from 1979 (it's 'Video Killed The Radio Star' by Buggles, in case you weren't sure), and a lot of bragging. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, I don't like to be the one to say this, but there's something fundamentally flawed about a song which demands that we check something out when there is literally NOTHING on display. I've looked and I've looked, and it's the same result every time: Nothing. Zip. Nada. Another-word-that-means-nothing. Zilch.

(I can't even show you the video because it is too sweary.)

And that's not even where the ripeness ends. Nicki Minaj is definitely a force for good in the world of popular song, but it's more than a bit much to sing "I'm a stereo and she's just so monotone" when her voice has been squashed flat by the iron hand of autotune. And really, what we want when Will.I.Am sings "I can't believe it, this beat is banging" is fairly simple: we want a beat and it is going to have to be a good one.

What we get is the most ineffective of boom-buh-boom-boom-kiks. The kind of beat which is probably best to not make too much of a fuss over.

And as a song, it basically forgets who it is about halfway through, taking a detour through some other beats and some other rhyme ideas (some of which are better, to be fair, especially Nicki's second verse) in an imperious fashion, before suddenly coming to its senses at the end.

It's definitely one of those songs where you can picture Will throwing ideas around in a wild fashion, daring people to question his production sanity, just so that he can smirkingly ask that we trust his better judgement, what with him being so fly and all.

Maybe it worked better in his head...

Two starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Digital Spy says: "When you cameo on more songs than you headline, forging a career of your own is a tricky business."

Dallas Observer says: "It'd be great to see Nicki treating the track and Billy's whole strut like the big joke that it is."



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