Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare II have finally added a Nicki Minaj operator skin a month after it was announced, and the Barbz are taking over the battle royale and posting reactions to the bombastic character’s addition to the game.
Introduced as part of Activision’s 50th anniversary of hip-hop promo, the Nicki Minaj cosmetic bundle comes with two bubblegum-pink weapons (an assault rifle and a shotgun) that shoot pink paint splatters, an animated player icon featuring an ice cream cone that morphs into Nicki’s face, a player banner, gun badge, pink truck skin, and, of course, the queen of rap herself. The Nicki Minaj operator is especially brilliant—not only does she have an incredibly long, pink wig that trails well past her ample bottom, but she’s wearing a head-to-toe metallic pink catsuit and six inch heels. Naturally, Warzone players who are also fans of Nicki Minaj are gagging over her addition to the game, and many of them jumped in to buy and equip it (her bundle costs about $20).
Social media was almost immediately inundated with clips of Nicki Minaj in Warzone, like one of Fortnite streamer and rapper KeepUpRadio refreshing the in-game shop and freaking out when the Nicki bundle appeared. “Sound the alarm for Nicki Minaj in Call of Duty! Let’s go!” she yells before playing a clip from “Red Ruby Da Sleeze,” a more recent Nicki hit.
“Nicki Minaj is my favorite artist. Every year she’s my most streamed on Spotify Wrapped,” she told Kotaku over Instagram DM. “I was bummed she wasn’t in Fortnite but just the fact that she was coming to any video game I think is a huge accomplishment…the representation when it comes to playing as people you can relate to makes the experience more fun.”
KeepUpRadio isn’t the only person freaking out over Nicki in Call of Duty—the internet is full of reaction clips and videos of Minaj sprinting through a literal warzone in six-inch pumps, her long, pink hair flowing oddly behind her (I don’t think Activision devs are all that familiar with a 40-inch wig).
One Nicki clip shows a streamer rapping one of her verses while riding an ATV before being unceremoniously blown up. “The str8ghts ruining cod for us Barbs,” the captions reads. In another, a woman warns everyone that they’re gonna be sick of her while waving what looks like the Nova Pink PS5 DualSense controller at her TV, Call of Duty Nicki standing idly on the screen. “We got another Nicki on our team,” a player says excitedly in a different clip, the pink-clad rapper serving as a sort of calling card for Black women, her fans, and the gay community at large.
Naturally, the Nicki skin and its implications has been triggering some angry little boys in Call of Duty, but the Barbz run deep. One TikTok shows a player frustratingly asking “y’all are really just gonna sit here?” after two Nicki players took out an enemy late in a match. As the Nickis try to respond to him, he complains: “Y’all wasted money on that? I mean c’mon now” referencing the Nicki skin. The squad wins the game, and someone says “fuck you gays” loudly into their mic. “Bitch, you’re mad as fuck we won,” a player responded, and the Barbz break out into laughter. “Look how we ate that,” one says as the evac helicopter takes the victors away. “Barbz r taking over and the straights r mad,” the caption reads.
I too have been waiting for Nicki to drop in Warzone (in fact I’ve been bothering Activision PR about it for weeks), so I made sure to get a few rounds in last night with Chun-Li herself. Within moments of dropping into Ashika Island during the pre-match warmup, I chased down a guy in a generic operator skin, killing him with a spray of pink-splattered bullets. “Damn, Nicki!” he yelled over Warzone’s proximity chat. Minutes later, I mowed down someone while blasting Lil’ Kim’s “Lighters Up” over the in-game truck’s radio. “Nicki Minaj!” a kid’s voice screeched as his character’s body rolled under my tires.
Her voice lines are unsurprisingly great, too. That’s because Nicki Minaj actually recorded them, so when your in-game character shouts “Brrrr” or implores a teammate to “buy me back, boo,” it’s actually the modern queen of rap herself saying it. Call of Duty rarely feels like it’s for the girls and the gays, but it certainly does right now.