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Released: 2017

Features: Nicki Minaj, Ty Dolla $ign

Alright, let’s dive into the vibrant and raucous world of “Swalla” by Jason Derulo, featuring the Queens of Rap Nicki Minaj, and Ty Dolla $ign, an artist who’s got West Coast hip-hop running through his veins. The song is a mix of playfulness and bravado, with an underlying narrative of quintessential hip-hop themes like swagger, opulence, and sexual prowess.

The song has a catchy, rhythmic chorus interposed between verses. This repetition of “Swalla-la-la” could be interpreted as Derulo’s confident assertation of his sexual charisma, drawing in women who are “feeling thirsty”—yearning for his attention. It’s also a nod to the double meaning of drinking and swallowing, a consistent theme throughout hip-hop history. The phrase “Shimmy shimmy yay, shimmy yay, shimmy ya” further reinforces this theme, which is an homage to Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s hit “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” He is creating a connection with hip-hop roots while spinning his individual charisma.

Next up is Ty Dolla $ign, a maestro of crafting bars about the lavish lifestyle he leads—think swanky Beverly Hills, red bottom heels, and pricey jewelry. The line “Dolla got too many girls” is a classic hip-hop brag, asserting his attraction and confirming his status in the game. “When she back it up, put it on the Snap…she gon’ swallow that” and “Champagne poppin’, she gon’ swallow that” refers to two elements—his partner’s carnal enthusiasm and their mutual embrace of the high life.

Jason Derulo Swalla (feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign)

Enter Nicki Minaj—arguably one of the most influential female rappers of her generation. Her verse drips with pride and self-assurance. She delivers hard-hitting lines about her unparalleled fashion sense, her power and dominance within the relationship dynamic, and her critical view of men who pursue women of perceived lower status, or “thots.” When she says, “I’m havin’ another good year, we don’t get blimps for that/Pussy game still cold, we don’t get minx for that”, Nicki is shaping her kingdom, building her image not just on her sex appeal, but her talents and triumphs—a noteworthy balance uncommon in the game.

“Swalla” is a sizzling blend of hip-hop elements that navigates the terrain of opulence, sexual voracity and gender dynamics, while paying homage to its roots. This, hip-hop heads, is the pulse of the culture—ever-evolving but deeply tethered to its rich, gritty history.