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98. (Drop Dead) Beautiful (Featuring Sabi) (2011)

(Coleman, Coleman, Dean, Jomphe, Levin)

Album – Femme Fatale

Since Mariah Carey’s landmark “Fantasy” remix featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard, rap verses in pop songs have become ubiquitous. Sometimes this is to great effect (see Minaj’s A+ verse on “Till the World Ends”), and other times it is to the detriment of the song. Spears’s woozy electro-dance banger “(Drop Dead) Beautiful” is unfortunately an example of the latter. The first two minutes is all Spears, though her voice gets distorted beyond recognition in the high-energy chorus. Then the beat slows and Sabi enters. The now infamous rap verse attempts to rhyme “I ain’t sweating you” with “vegetables.” It’s an unfortunately memorable non-highlight that mars an otherwise solid dance track. Sabi does not describe herself as a rapper and was perhaps out of her element, but would thankfully go on to have a hit with Cobra Starship later that year. Overall, “(Drop Dead) Beautiful” is a great dance track but with some definite baggage.

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