I only took a half a pill: decoding Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”

Nicki Minaj - Anaconda - skull with pill

Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda is a crazy ride beginning in a Tiki jungle, moving to a Tiki gym, and ending with Minaj doing a private dance as if in a strip club cut back and forth with images of Nicki in what looks like a jungle pool or hot spring. I believe it is a commentary on the Club and its relationship to/with the Sun.

There is an easter egg in the first four seconds of the video. A faint and distant bird flies in from stage left and disappears behind the large tree trunk. As soon as that bird disappears, a small monkey appears in front of the same tree, swinging across to the next tree, the climbing up and disappearing. The monkey appears and disappears all within a two-second span of time (00:04-00:06). I think she is showing how Chris’ music career was cut off mid-flight, how he was “treed.” The bird has been turned into a monkey.

Alchemical symbol for sulfurThe tree where the monkey disappears is traversed horizontally by two dark vines, which suggests wires (spying) and a double-t shape – but with a stronger lower bar, like a plus sign.

The next imagery: the triangle-shaped roof of the hut, Nicki in gold surrounded by four women with one boot on and one off, their legs posed in triangle-like shapes … it’s the Club, Sun at the center.
Still from Anaconda showing Nicki in gold surrounded by four women in black

I think with the Tiki and other silly imagery, the video is illustrating how silly it the whole scene is – at the same time, totally going for it. Awesome!!!

There is a pineapple (and later, other fruit) on a turntable. The pineapple is a common Sun symbol, and I believe a reference to Hawaii, and the fruit industry there. The idea of turning around and around has to do with the Sun, probably because the Sun is always going in circles, like a record on a turntable, and because pretty much all records ever made reflect the Sun.

The song overall begins by telling a fragmented story involving various characters, using samples from Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back. As with Jay Z’s On To The Next One, meaning can be fleshed out by matching images to lyrics. For example “getting some coin” is paired with a gold skeleton claw sitting in the sand holding a coconut shell overflowing with milk (and topped with a cocktail umbrella).

Nicki Minaj - Anaconda - Coconut

The phrase “shootouts with the law” brings the camera in very close, focusing on the gold fingers. Just another one of many, many signs pointing to police being directly involved in spying on us.

There’s some great 1980’s aerobics influenced dancing in various types of shoes, bright fanny packs in front, orange belts, and cut-off jeans like those used by Jennifer Lopez in her video for I Luh Ya Papi and Taylor Swift in Shake it off. Neon palm trees like those at 1:35 are symbolic of Napalm Beach.

The Sir Mix-A-Lot sample “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hon” is, I think, the main point around which the song revolves. Anaconda is a big snake that kills its prey by suffocating it. It’s slang for a big penis and it is also word that can be broken down into parts. Anna, because of the letters, is a name for the right eye. Con means to swindle someone. And then there’s D for dirty and another A for alpha. Bun is a butt, but it’s also bread which is slang for money.

Bun is probably also connected to the word “bunny.”


I think this can be broken down into a mirror situation: everyone wants some money. (In our case, it’s already owed to us.)

The final minute and a half of the video changes to a new scene with a man played by Drake sits in a chair and Nicki crawls up to him, then dances for him. This part of the video is heavily doused in blue tint, except for the bottom of Minaj’s shoes, and her nails, which are bright pink. She’s wearing a baseball cap like I wear outside in the sun. Minaj’s vocalizations get crazy and weird. “He love this fat ass.. HA HA HA HA…” The sleeve of Drake’s shirt has this series of numbers and letters written across it: 61X.

The number 61 comes up a lot. Bob Dylan has a song song “Highway 61 Revisited” (“O God said to Abraham, ‘Kill me a Son’…”). I believe the number 61 is important because of the Lovers/Magician opposition which is also seen in the series 1776. But what also strikes and disturbs me is that 61 is the number of the street I moved to one month ago.

I think Nicki is saying something about my/our backdoor relationship with The Club and/or people in it. Point is, there’s a great deal of money – A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY – which has already been made off our asses. He LOVE this fat ass! HA HA HA.

We need to be paid.

As the song finishes, Nicki calls for the big booty bitches in the club, saying “Fuck you skinny bitches in the club.” It’s not about “skinny shaming.” I believe she’s referencing some of the individuals mirrored in this song:

Here’s a cypher: How can you be a fat ass big bitch and a skinny little bitch at the same time?

E.Z. Just look at me. Then look at my bank account. E.Z. I need at least eight figures.

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