One of the most debated Hip-Hop artist of our time returns with her third studio album. There is no question that when Nicki Minaj is in her zone she may be not only one of the best female rappers out, but one of the best rappers period. She has shown us the potential on a multitude of her own records and as a featured artist. Many often bring up how she was able to dismantle Ricky Rozay, Yezus, and Hova with her super energetic verse on “Monster”.
Something happened though. Nicki dropped her first album, Pink Friday, which was met with favorable reviews, but it didn’t have that same hunger that we had heard prior to the album. Though the sound itself didn’t make you believe she was hungry, the quality of the music did. Then came Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, and well….. I can’t say it was good. Not only did Nicki stray further away from what made her the Hip-Hop star that she was, it almost felt like a slap in the face to the Hip-Hop purist, like myself. It was almost as if Nicki had decided that Hip-Hop was cool to gain her celebrity status, but not good enough to grow with. Not only that but during promotion for her album she claimed that it was a little rougher than the first album and compared it to a mixtape. Well, it wasn’t.
Now Nicki is back, and I must admit, everything she has been doing lately reminds me of mixtape, hungry, confident, focused Nicki. Still, Nicki has named this album The Pinkprint as an ode to Jay-Z’s classic Blueprint album. She is going to have to come with it if she doesn’t want the Hip-Hop community to go crazy. Let’s see what this offering offers from the most/only relevant female Hip-Hop star.
1. All Things Go
Produced by Boi-1da, Vinylz, & Ritter
This album starts off with an airy instrumental that you would expect to hear from SZA or Jhene Aiko. The song is very reflective and has Nicki looking back on her life. She speaks on a child that she didn’t have, the man she almost married, and the loss of her cousin. This is a little more introspective than I expected from Nicki, but I’m pleasantly surprised. The final verse is a highlight as Nicki opens up about her unborn child a little more and abusing medication to deal with the pain.
I want ‘Caiah to go to college, just to say “We did it!”
My child with Aaron, would’ve been sixteen, any minute
So in some ways I feel like ‘Caiah, is the both of them
It’s like he’s ‘Caiah’s little angel, looking over him
2. I Lied
Produced by Mike WiLL Made-It & Skooty
Nicki has obviously been taking her craft serious as she has improved her singing. She starts off on this string heavy instrumental hitting notes that I didn’t know she was capable of. This is another song that is pretty open as well as she talks about being insecure in a relationship. The highlight here is definetly the singing she does here.
3. The Crying Game
Produced by Wansel & Felder
The beat is eclectic with strong strings prominently used over light synths. I’m pretty impressed as I can tell Nicki really took her time and thought out concepts here. She once again speaks on relationships with a different perspective. Instead of speaking on her insecurities this time, she speaks about the man’s insecurities and her abusive nature. Although this isn’t anything new, it’s definitely executed different.
4. Get on Your Knees
Featuring Ariana Grande; Produced by Dr. Luke & Cirkut
This is going to be a single. This has Nicki and Ariana teasing men in everywhere. The instrumental is laced with simple keys, light percussion, and is tailor made for the radio. This will be a hit. The ladies will love this.
5. Feeling Myself
Featuring Beyoncé; Produced by Hit-Boy
Three years ago I never thought these two would have a song together, but now they have two on deck. Nicki and Beyoncé have to be the biggest females in the game right now, and so far they find away push each other. This has a great chance at being a hit too, but I must admit that Nicki’s bars are dope, extremely dope. She questions every other females rhyming skills with lines like, “Bitches ain’t got punchlines or flow, I have both and an empire also”.
Featuring Drake, Lil’ Wayne, & Chris Brown; Produced by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, & JMIKE
This joint was cool and was released not too long ago. I know that a video has been shot, and the pics are amazing. All three rappers did their thing but Drake’s thirst was amazingly entertaining on here. Drake’s thirst was the star of this though:
I never fucked Nicki cause she got a man
But when that’s over then I’m first in line
And the other day in her Maybach
I thought God damn, this is the perfect time
We had just come from that video
You know LA traffic, how the city slow
She was sitting down on that big butt
But I was still staring at the titties though
Yea, low key or maybe high key
I been peeped that you like me, you know
Who the fuck you really wanna be with besides me?
I mean, it doesn’t take much for us to do this shit quietly
7. Want Some More
Produced by Zaytoven, Hitmaka, Metro Boomin’, & Maraj
For people who want Nicki to rap more and be a little more aggressive, this is the joint for you. Heavy bass track with Nicki talking her shit, as only she can. This joint is dope.
Who had Eminem on the first album?
Who had Kanye saying “She a problem”?
Who the fuck came in the game made her own cologne?
Who made Lil Wayne give ’em five million?
Why the fuck I gotta say it, though?
You niggas don’t know it yet?
Football touchdown on the Boeing jet
You my son, but I’m just not showing yet
Miss Icy, but it ain’t snowing yet
Sidenote: It’s pretty important to note that around this time on Roman Reloaded, Nicki switched from Hip-Hop to pop, so let’s see how the rest of the album goes.
8. Four Door Aventador
Produced by Parker
Remember when Nicki covered Biggie’s “Warning” with her own story? That’s exactly what this joint reminds me of. This has an old school feel to it, and Nicki is rhyming over it like most other rappers never could. The lyrics are dope and the beat fits it perfect.
Hit me on the celly, watching Belly
God, son, I can see they study MaKaveli
Peanut butter Benz, got the jelly at the deli
If you feeling like a ninja I got a machete
Hell yeah, them girls bad, but I’m fucking heavy
I’mma fuck around and have them looking like spaghetti
Featuring Jeremih; Produced by Darhyl Camper, Jr., Maraj, & Holladay
Intense base is the introduction to the beat, and then everything smooths out as Jeremih comes over the string heavy beat. This song has Nicki on the verses talking about how she is a rider. At first this sounds like it’s going to be completely shallow, but she does drop more clues about who she is with lines like, “You’re lucky if my mean ass likes you”. Once again Nicki shows off her improved singing skills on here too.
10. Buy a Heart
Featuring Meek Mill; Produced by Arch Tha Boss & Hitmaka
The first time I heard about this song was from K. Mitchell. She says Meek let her hear the song and loved it so much she stole the title for her own album. She didn’t mention that Nicki was on it, but I have to admit that she stole the show on here. The title fools you somewhat as this isn’t a love song. You have Nicki and Meek rapping about selling their heart, because they won’t be using it anymore. I like the joint, but I was expecting something a little harder from these two together.
11. Trini Dem Girls
Featuring Lunchmoney Lewis; Produced by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, A.C., & JMIKE
Oh the club is going to eat this up. I’m not really sure who Lunchmoney Lewis is, but no one does apparently. This song is paying homage to Nicki’s “Island Girl” heritage. This definitely has fast hard hitting drums that you would expect to hear at an island celebration. Nice song.
Produced by Polow Da Don, Da Internz, & Anonymous
Would you be mad if I say I get why people like this? I do. The beat that Polow Da Don and Da Internz gives Nicki is really infectious to the least. Although the instrumentation leans heavy to the pop side, the Sir Mix-a-lot sample and the funny bars that Nicki lays down still makes this Hip-Hop. Not for everyone, but I do understand it.
13. The Night Is Still Young
Produced by Dr. Luke & Cirkut
This song is a celebratory song. In the context of the album, you feel like she is celebrating the fact that she has made it through a lot of the things that she has opened up to us about. The beat is very pop friendly. I was scared that we would hear one of her alter egos on here, but no Nicki is still being Nicki. That’s a huge positive
14. Pills n Potions
Produced by Dr. Luke & Cirkut
This was one of the first offerings from the album. At first I wasn’t really feeling it, but in the contexts of this album I get it. She once again speaks about pills, which she has spoken on a couple of times here. This is a soft beat with Nicki switching between rapping and singing about the people who have left her and even hate her now that she has made it.
15. Bed of Lies
Featuring Skylar Grey; Produced by Kane Beatz, JMIKE, Alex da Kid, Isaac, & TODAY
There isn’t anyway you can tell me that this isn’t a diss to Safaree. Check the first verse:
You could never make eye contact
Everything you got was based off of my contacts
You a fraud, but I’mma remain icon-stat
Balenciaga’s on my boots with the python strap
You was caught up in the rush, and you was caught up in the thrill of it
You was with me way before I hit a quarter mil’ in it
Put you in the crib and you ain’t never pay a bill in it
I was killin’ it, man you got me poppin’ pills in it
I told Baby hit you, I said this nigga buggin’
Cause I was doing it for us, I told ’em fuck the public
Couldn’t believe that I was home alone contemplating
Overdosin’, no more coastin’, no more toastin’ over oceans
They say you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
They say that your darkest hour comes before your dawn
Again she talks about pills as well. Skylar Grey also does a nice job with the hook duties.
16. Grand Piano
Produced by Kane Beatz, will.i.am, Harris, Maraj, TODAY, & The Mad Violinist
I’ve been raving about Nicki’s improved singing skills, the albums ends with keys from a piano and with Nicki singing an emotional song about where she is in her personal life. Wonderful way to end the album.
There are a couple of things I want to point out about this album. First is this, I never noticed how much we truly don’t know about Nicki until this album. I mean Jay-Z is a secretive person, but we still know so much about him just threw the music. This is the first time that Nicki has ever exposed herself in a way that didn’t involve Instagram selfies. Another thing to point out is that Nicki didn’t use any of her created personalities. Now that this album is here, you can see that was her way of protecting herself and she is becoming comfortable enough to allow to know who she is. Nicki isn’t your average rapper.
She will never put out an album that Talib Kweli would cosign, but if you can’t see that Nicki is one of the best rappers and has created one of the best albums of the year (Yes, even better than K.R.I.T.’s) than you are just hating. Not every great rapper sees the world the way Cole and Kendrick or even Jay and Nas. She is changing the culture in her own way. Just her being able to drop this album and having it sell shows that female rappers can sell. This album was a great piece of work. She has firmly cemented herself in my top 5 emcee’s right now.
Sidenote: If I could give this album a 4.3 I would.