News of Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj‘s collaboration on ‘Girl on Fire (Inferno Version)’ hit our radar yesterday, but the track itself finally hit the Web today — and it doesn’t disappoint.

The track opens with a thumping midtempo beat as Minaj spits a verse about not succumbing to the dangers of Marilyn Monroe-inspired excess and self-destruction. “Spirit of Marilyn callin’ me / Orderin’, ballin’ me / Said she would never leave / Continuin’ to torture me /Tellin’ me to come with her / Underneath my comforter / She brought a gun with her / Then says to run with her / Took me on a balcony, tellin’ me to jump with her / Yeah, I’m into ghosts but / I ain’t doin’ stunts with her.” It’s evocative not only of Minaj’s own track, ‘Marilyn Monroe,’ but also of the message of ‘Girl on Fire’ itself: Rising above negative influences to triumph.

Keys herself knows from experience that you need to rise above it, going back to her days in Hell’s Kitchen as a child and going on to initially struggle to snag a record deal. Keys soars in the chorus, which is simultaneously simple and glorious: “Got our feet on the ground / And we’re burning it down / She got her head in the clouds / And she’s not backing down / This girl is on fire / This girl is on fire / She’s walking on fire / This girl is on fire.

In her second verse, Minaj prays for strength and resilience to deal with critics and adversity, closing with “X in the box / Ain’t nobody checkin’ me.” You tell ‘em!

Both artists share the spotlight on this song, and they both earn it. Minaj’s lyrics are some of the most moving and meaningful of her career, while Keys returns to the piano and feel-good vibes that made ‘No One’ such a huge hit. Expect to hear this song nonstop on radio — and not to mind. These girls are both on fire.


Listen to Alicia Keys Feat. Nicki Minaj, ‘Girl on Fire (Inferno Version)’

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