Last week at MTV’s European Music Awards, scene-stealing host Nicki Minaj gave a live premiere of her new collaboration with Skylar Grey on the ballad “Bed of Lies.” On Saturday night, Minaj released the full studio version of the song on iTunes as the fourth single off her upcoming new album, The Pinkprint.
The song opens with Grey’s vocal hook and restrained keyboard work before Minaj jumps in with a heartfelt litany of grievances about a scummy ex. “You could never make eye contact / Everything you got was based off of my contacts,” she raps in her tale of betrayal.
In an interview with Billboard shortly after the EMAs performance, Grey explained how the collaboration transpired. “The song started being written almost a year ago and then [Minaj] picked it up and wrote her verses on it. Luckily, she liked the demo of it enough to keep me on the song,” she said. “When I heard that she was taking the song I was surprised because it’s not a typical kind of song for her. . . . She seemed to take it to a very personal place.”
Minaj echoed the sentiment in recent comments to Rolling Stone. “I don’t think any of these songs could have been on my last album,” she said. “I’ve grown as a writer. I’m braver in terms of speaking about things I didn’t feel comfortable sharing two years ago.”
The ballad marks a sharp turn from The Pinkprint‘s third single. The brash and hard-hitting “Only,” which features Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown, recently sparked controversy for the apparent use of Nazi imagery in the video. Although the video’s director, Jeffrey Osborne, refused to apologize for his work, Minaj was more contrite in a note posted to Twitter. “I didn’t come up with the concept, but I’m very sorry and take full responsibility if it has offended anyone. I’d never condone Nazism in my art.”
The Pinkprint, Minaj’s third album, is due out on December 15th via Young Money/Cash Money.