Nicki Minaj Wiki
Nicki Minaj
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Released February 14, 2012
Format CD single, digital download
Genre Eurodance, europop
Length 3:30
Label Young Money, Cash Money, Universal Republic
Writer Onika Maraj, Nadir Khayat, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub, Wayne Hector
Producer RedOne, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub
Single information
Single release February 14, 2012
Video release April 26, 2012
←Last single
"Give Me All Your Luvin'"
Next single→
"Roman Reloaded"
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded track listing
"Starships" is track number 10.
Previous track
"Sex in the Lounge"
Next track
"Pound the Alarm"

"Starships" is a song by Nicki Minaj from her second studio album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. The song serves as the lead single off the album. It was written by Minaj, Nadir Khayat, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub, and Wayne Hector, and was produced by RedOne, Carl Falk, and Rami Yacoub. It was released as a single on February 14, 2012, premiering during On Air with Ryan Seacrest. A music video was filmed for the song on March 13 to March 15, and premiered on April 26, 2012 at 7:56 pm on MTV.

"Starships" includes dance, pop and rap vibes. It is considered a follow-up to her 2011 smash "Super Bass". Since its release, the song stayed in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 21 weeks passing records for her single "Super Bass" of 15 weeks making it the #1 song of most consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of the chart ahead of The Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling" with 20 weeks. The single has been certified 6x Platinum in Australia, 4x platinum in the US, 3x platinum in Mexico, 2x platinum in New Zealand and Denmark, Platinum in the UK, Japan, Switzerland, and Peru, and Gold in Belgium, Italy, and Sweden. The single had sold 3.9 million downloads in the US in 2012 making it the 5th top-selling song of the year. It was also the 5th top-selling song in the UK, and the 7th best selling global single with 7.2M sold.

The track is Minaj's most successful and well-known single of all time, surpassing the success of "Super Bass".


"Va Va Voom" was planned to be released as the lead single of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded on February 7, 2012,[1] but the release date was delayed to February 14.[2] Instead of it, "Starships" was released as the lead single, on February 14.

A day later was announced that "Starships" will be released instead of "Va Va Voom" by Ryan Seacrest on On Air with Ryan Seacrest.[3]Minaj talked about the song on the show:

"There was so much love surrounding the making of the song, because RedOne is just so sweet to work with. He just sent me that one day and he said, 'Hey, I got something for you!' I was like 'You got to be kidding me, right?' I went to the studio and started writing... scratch that... I didn't even write the first verse! That was just me mumbling and just saying the first thing that came to my head, and we recorded it, because I just felt... like let's go to the beach... let's go get away... It was just so good. It feels good!"
Nicki MinajOn Air with Ryan Seacrest, February 14, 2012.

The song premiered on the show on February 14, 2012, and a few hours later was available for digital download on Itunes.

In an interview with Wayne Hector (one of the writers) he explained how the song came about:

"Basically, it was something that I wrote with Carl [Falk], Rami Yacoub and RedOne in Sweden. We wrote it, originally with different verses, and were all jumping around thinking: 'This is going to be great.' And at some point Red said: 'You know what? This would be great for Nicki Minaj.' He played it to her and she went crazy for it but said: 'Can I just do my verse because it has to be me? And we all thought: 'Why not? We love her.' I'm always happy for an artist [to personalize a track]. Whatever is best for the song and the artist. Especially if you have somebody who has a clear-cut defined image of who they are. You can't really interfere with that and get the best out of them."
Wayne HectorBillboard.bix (Q&A) March 28, 2012

Demo version

While there is no full demo version, snippets of Minaj's demo of the song were leaked—while the instrumentals are the same, the vocals are different.


The single cover artwork was revealed a day later of the single release, on February 13.[4] A photo shoot was made for the cover artwork called "Starships photo shoot". The photo shoot was later used for the cover artwork for "Pound the Alarm".


"Starships" was produced by RedOne, Carl Falk, and Rami Yacoub. It is a multi-genre song, which heavily utilizes eurodance, europop, euro house, and electropop while also incorporating other genres such as pop, dance, reggae, pop rock, and hip hop.[5] The song has been compared to her international hit "Super Bass" by some critics.[6] The song features basic synth and drum-machine presets.[7] The song has been compared of some works of others artist such as LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It", Rihanna's "We Found Love", and songs of Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.[7][8][9]

Critical reception

The song received generally positive reviews from music critics. Jesal Padani from gave the song a very positive review saying that it "really hit bull's-eye", calling it a "undeniable joy" and a "gloriously uplifting anthem."[6] Padani compared the song with "Super Bass", calling it a "less cheesy version."[6] Andy Gill from The Independent (UK) included the song in his "download this" list, along with "Marilyn Monroe", "Champion", and "Young Forever".[10] Jessica Hopper from Spin called the song "fun" but said that "until she raps out that verse, she could be anyone."[11]

Alex Thornton from HipHop DX said that the song "is perfectly designed for the increasingly popular House-inspired Dance Pop scene." [12] He admitted that the song, though isn't bad, is wrong because of Minaj not being making Hip Hop.[12] Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone called the song "thumping" and said that is "the most shameless Rihanna-wanna-be song ever recorded" but also agree that is "worthy of the ambition."[8]

Matthew Cole from Slant Magazine gave the song a very negative review saying that "Minaj isn't much of a singer, and not much of a lyricist either" and obviating that "if something is in the sky then it must also be inspiring", referring to the chorus of the song.[7] Ryan Dombal from Pitchfork said that the song appears "to be born out of a creatively hobbled beer company's marketing team (...) rather than Nicki's gloriously odd brain."[9]

Live performances

Minaj performed the single live for the first time on February 26, 2012, along with "Moment 4 Life", "Turn Me On" and "Super Bass", at the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. On March 29, 2012, she performed the single on the eleventh season of American Idol results show and on The Today Show on April 6. She later perform the song, along with "Super Bass" and "Right by My Side" at the Nokia Lumia 900 launch event, the same day of the Today's performance. Minaj performed the song in a mash-up with "Right by My Side" at The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 10, 2012. The single was also performed by Minaj on her Pink Friday Tour and Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour.

Music video

Music Video Information
Nicki_Minaj_-_Starships_(Explicit) Premiere April 26, 2012
Filmed March 13-15, 2012
Director Anthony Mandler
Producer Heather Heller
Production co LET Films
Exec. producer Ciarra Pardo
Editor Jeff Selis
Length 4:22
Source Video Static: Nicki Minaj "Starships"


On March 5 a fan asked Minaj if there will be a video for "Starships" and she quickly replied "Yes. Of course Barbz. Don't be silly."[13] The video was filmed on the beaches of Hawaii by director Anthony Mandler from March 13 to March 15.[14]

On March 21, a fan asked Minaj when the video will be released and she respond "a week and a half."[15] On April, with the video still unreleased, more fans asked Minaj when the video will be out but no one of the dates that Minaj said were true.[16][17] She had an interview with Ryan Seacrest on April 5 in which she commented about the video delay: "We still haven't put the video out! I'm going to kill Anthony Mandler! I'm trying to get the video out in like a couple more days or else Anthony Mandler will be missing. I love the song and I can't wait. I think the video is going to come out in — I'm hoping and praying — within the next 5 days."[18] Unfortunately, the video won't came out "the next 5 days."

On April 25, the video was officially announced to be released on MTV on April 26 at 7:56 pm EST.[19] The video premiered on VEVO a few hours later.[20]


Behind the scenes

On March 14, during the shoot of Starships' video, many photos were taken from the shoot which features Minaj with a pink bathing suit in many scenes.[21]



  • Recorded at: Kinglet Studios, Stockholm, Sweden and Conway Studios
  • Mixed at: Conway Studios, Los Angeles, CA


  • Writers: O Maraj, N. Khayat, C. Falk, R. Yacoub, W. Hector
  • Producers: RedOne and Rami & Carl Falk
  • Recorded by: Trevor Muzzy & Ariel Chobaz
  • Recording Assistant: Jon Sher
  • Mixed by: Carl Falk, Rami, and Trevor Muzzy
  • Mix Assistant: Jon Sher
  • Vocal Editing by: Trevor Muzzy & Rami
  • Additional Vocals by: Mohombi, Wayne Hector, and Carl Falk
  • All Instruments by: Carl Falk, Rami & RedOne
  • Guitars by: Carl Falk

The credits for "Starships" are adapted from the liner notes of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.[22]

Release history

Country Date Format[23]
United States February 14, 2012 Radio premiere, digital download
Canada Digital download
United Kingdom
Belgium February 15, 2012
New Zealand
United States February 21, 2012 Mainstream and Rhythmic radio
Germany April 6, 2012 CD single


Pink Friday Roman Reloaded logo.png
  1. Va Va Voom release date: 02/07/12 Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  2. VVV release date change] Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  3. Twitter: !!!! ---> RT @RyanSeacrest: Talking to @NickiMinaj tmrw on @OnAirWithRyan, then will premiere new single "starships" Tuesday Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  4. Twitter: Premieres tmrw!!! > RT @TeamMinajFresno: RT @kingsleyyy: Um @NICKIMINAJ I don't think they're ready!!!!!!! #STARSHIPS Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  5. Wikipedia: Starships_(song)#Composition Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Nicki Minaj :: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - Cash Money Records Review by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania from Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded Review by Matthew Cole from Slant Magazine. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded Young Money/Cash Money Review by Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded Review by Ryan Dombal from Pitchfork. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  10. Album: Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday Roman Reloaded (Island) Review by Andy Gill from The Independent (UK). Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  11. Nicki Minaj, ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’ Review by Jessica Hopper from Spin. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded Review by Alex Thornton from HipHop DX. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  13. Nicki Minaj @NICKIMINAJ: Yes. Of course barbz. Don't be silly ---> RT @SarahJaneTM: @NICKIMINAJ will there be a video for Starships soon Nic?? 4:43 pm - 5 Mar 12
  14. Video: Nicki Minaj – ‘Starships’ Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  15. Twitter: A week and a half> RT @SineadMaraj_LK: @NICKIMINAJ #AyoNicki wen we guna get the #starships video? Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  16. Twitter: This WEEK!> RT @MinajWord: @NICKIMINAJ Any idea of when we getting the starships video? I NEED that pink bikini in my life! Please answer:( Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  17. Twitter: Top of nex wk!> RT @hannah_jt98: @NICKIMINAJ I'm sick and tired of not being noticed. When will the music video for "Starships" b able to c? Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  18. [ Nicki Minaj Talks ‘Starships’ Music Video & Collaborating With Chris Brown Thursday, April 5, 2012] Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  19. Twitter: The Starships video premieres tomorrow on MTV @ 7:56pm EST. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  20. Twitter: RT @VEVO: #StarshipsVIDEO @NICKIMINAJ Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  21. PHOTOS: Nicki Minaj Shoots ‘Starships’ Music Video in Hawaii Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  22. Digital booklet of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
  23. Wikipedia: Starships (song)#Release history Retrieved September 23, 2012.