“Boyz” by Jesy Nelson (ft. Nicki Minaj)

Jesy Nelson and Nicki Minaj’s “Boyz is a song in which the vocalist(s) is expressing her desire to be with a “bad boy” romantically. What that means is that she prefers a “‘hood” dude with an “attitude”, “tattoos and… gold teeth”, blazi blah. Really this isn’t anything we haven’t heard before, with such sentiments being put into a hip-hop context dating back at least to MC Lyte’s 1993 single Ruffneck

In fact Lil Nas X recently dropped a song – albeit from a gay standpoint – entitled “That’s What I Want” (2021) where he too expresses a desire for guys with “gold teeth”, i.e. thugs, if you will.

And Nicki Minaj rationalizes her “want [of] a bad boy” by touting her own comparable badness. However, being that this song was in fact influenced by an old  Bad Boy Entertainment track, she also uses the opportunity to give a shoutout to a few artists from that influential label’s heyday. These names include – Diddy, Mase, Black Rob, Total and the late Notorious B.I.G. 

And as is Minaj’s standard, she also goes about presenting herself and her collaborator as being superior to the other “b–ches” on the scene.

In the End

At the end of the day, we, the audience, walk away knowing that these ladies are not interested in average dudes. Or as Nicki closes out, she wants a guy who is willing to even “knock a motherf—er out”, i.e. assault someone, in the name of securing her thug-impassioned love.

Lyrics to "Boyz" by Jesy Nelson

Jesy Nelson

Jesy Nelson is a singer that has made a name for herself as part of a very popular musical act, Little Mix, which itself sprang from the British reality competition circuit. Little Mix, which was officially formed in 2011, has proven to be very successful from a commercial standpoint.

In late 2020, reportedly due to health reasons, Jesy Nelson embarked on an indefinite hiatus from the girl group. That being said, there was apparently more to her decision than just health reasons. 

The remaining members of the band – Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall – continued without her. 



“Boyz”, which Polydor Records and Republic Records released on 8 October 2021, marks Jesy’s first professional outing as a solo artist. 

Therefore, this would be her first direct collaboration with Nicki Minaj. However Nicki, did team up with the entirety of Little Mix before a few years back. Nicki and Mix released a track entitled “Woman Like Me” in 2018. The song proved to be a notable hit.

The producer of “Boyz” is a musical duo that collectively operates under the name Loosechange. Loosechange is made up of Youthonix and Patrick Jordan-Patrikios. Both names are also credited as writers of “Boyz”. And so are the following names:

  • Amanda Atoui
  • Dyo
  • Avital Margulies
  • Absolutely
  • Jesy Nelson
  • Nicki Minaj
  • Diddy

The reason that P. Diddy, who is also featured on this song’s music video, is acknowledged as such likely has something to do with the fact that “Boyz” samples an old Bad Boy Entertainment track he participated on entitled “Bad Boy for Life” (2001).

As far as the thesis sentiment of this song goes, we know that Nicki Minaj’s money is where her mouth is, considering that in 2019 she married Kenneth Petty, a childhood friend who does in fact possess a violent criminal record. And we also know that Jesy Nelson’s stated affinity for tattoos is real, as at this point she sports 15 of them on her own body.

What Jesy Nelson said of "Boyz"


Interestingly Jesy, who is apparently primarily Caucasian, has been accused of blackfishing in the music video to “Boyz. Blackfishing is sort of a 21st century phenomenon. It involves White public figures presenting themselves as Black. But truth be told, whereas Jesy may be of English ancestry, she doesn’t look 100% White. 

That said, she has suffered a backlash – including from one of her former Little Mix bandmates – for cultural appropriation. According to her critics, she is presenting herself as non-White in the aforementioned video. FYI, she personally co-directed the clip in conjunction with Harry James.

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