Billboard is celebrating the 2010s with essays on the 100 songs that we feel most define the decade that was -- the songs that both shaped and reflected the music and culture of the period -- with help telling their stories from some of the artists, behind-the-scenes collaborators and industry insiders involved.
Taylor Swift was giving an interview on a Nashville radio station in February 2011 when she was prompted to request a song. She picked “Super Bass,” then a relatively unfamiliar, uncharacteristically pop-leaning deluxe cut from Nicki Minaj’s 2010 album Pink Friday, and proceeded to rap most of the first verse on air.
“I remember being at a hotel and watching Taylor Swift on my laptop, and being like, ‘Wow, she rapped every single word,’” says Kane Beatz, who co-wrote and produced Minaj’s ebullient, love-drunk tune. Suddenly, he explains, “it became a viral thing that girls wanted to show that they could rap the whole verse.”