Before we get to our review of Check It Out, a quick will.i.am observation: This guy knows how to turn an everyday phrase into a pop hit. Think about his Black Eyed Peas legacy – from Shut Up to Don’t Lie and Pump It to I Gotta Feeling. Will excels at songs that have a punchy statement at their core (and preferably their chorus).
And his latest penchant is for recycling old tunes. Last seen on BEP’s The Time (Dirty Bit), which dusts of I’ve Had The Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing. And now, with Nicki Minaj, he’s sampling Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles. Good tune. But old. Very old.
You know what’s the most annoying thing about this though? Just like The Time has the entire western world chanting “dirty bit”, Check It Out is frustratingly catchy – whether it’s will.i.am’s drawl on the signature line or Nicki Minaj’s belligerent rap in the middle of the track. I love Minaj. She’s raunchy like a porn star (hit her up on Google Images to see what I mean), and she’s got a real ballsy attitude. This is not a prissy female by any means.
Musically, Check It Out is the usual blend of blaring electronica and autotune. Lyrically, it’s largely a standard bit of hip-hop bragging. But it’s not as if anybody really gives a crap about the lyrics, this type of music is all about the feelgood factor. And on that front, Check It Out delivers.
It’s funny to note that the UK version of this features a badly edited in Cheryl Cole, just to tie in that link between her and will.i.am. As if we hadn’t been sledgehammered with that information over the last four months. Cole, to her credit, looks more animated than I’ve seen her ever on X Factor. Of course, she also looks like those premium rate partyline girls you see in the adverts between late night television shows. I might like this Cheryl a little bit better than the one we usually see.
Also, coolest bit of the video is when the screen rotates leading up to Minaj’s rap. The rap itself sounds like Nicki’s undergoing a live lobotomy – “Stun gun, duh dun dun, buh bun bun…” No, it doesn’t make any sense. Yes, it sounds bloody brilliant though.
So where does that leave us? Well, one incredibly dumb but irresistible track. We’re really only starting to see Nicki Minaj break through here in the UK, but she’s definitely growing on me. Great track, fantastic video. Rating: 4.5 out of 5