A song like “Fireball” requires an acute and extreme suspension of disbelief. The track is by 10-year-old Willow Smith. And she is the fireball of the party.
Listen to the song here.
The spawn of Will Smith has put out two singles prior to this. “Whip My Hair” made it to No. 9 because and despite its easy targeting for what’s wrong with pop lyricism. “21st Century Girl” was a careful study on the inflections of Rihanna, with a video like a pantomime of the same Bajan singer. It only made it to No. 99.
So in terms of fireballing parties, Smith is only one for two. Not so with Nicki Minaj, who features on the track with G-rated braggadocio and indistinguishable gender and social commentary like, “[Willow,] Your daddy keep[s] you in designer [clothes].” Minaj, undoubtedly, was also on to add “legitimacy” to the track.
One problem with propping up children as pop stars is that they sound like children. Is Willow rapping about the kind of party with balloons and a bouncy castle? Or is she in a private booth with Minaj and vodka and mixers? Or somewhere in between?
I wouldn’t harp on the problem of “legitimacy” and “authenticity” in this instance so much if its adoption won’t rely so heavily on these elements. If you’re gonna borrow the synths and drop lazy breaks from the rap radio archive between Smith’s borrowed vocal styles (including those from Minaj), it had better be a barn-burner to be adopted wide-scale.
And the Stoopid Robots beat is. Combined with the hook, its like “Hollaback Girl” meeting “Yeah X3,” but with a pint-sized voice reporting that she’s gonna burn it all. What a world.
Willow Smith has yet to announce details concerning a full-length album. She is signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation spin-off StarRoc.