Until now it had been four years since Nicki Minaj released an album. The critically acclaimed ‘Pink Print’ seemingly came right on time as the MC was at the height of her career while going through hardships within her personal life. ‘The Pink Print’ was a very personal piece for Nicki. She didn’t just spit braggadocios rhymes over Rugrat beats as with Roman Reloaded, she told stories of her past and present relationships and family issues, and even becoming more vulnerable with the mentioning of her having an abortion. In Queen, there are elements of all her previous works including her mixtapes. ‘Barbie Dreams’ brings us back to a time where Nicki was undoubtedly one of the female raps most skilled. “Good Form” and “Chun-Li” are reminders that she can still make club anthems without collaborations.
However, as many critics predicted, this album is not what it was projected to be. Being a Nicki fan, I’m going to share some of my personal concerns in this review while still remaining objective but first I want to bring up some general mishaps. As I mentioned before, there are some solid tracks on this album, i.e. Barbie Dreams, LLC, and Good Form, as well as Ganja Burns and Majesty with Eminem are all exceptional, but there aren’t enough. Half of the 19 song project including the interlude and outro are either fillers or sub par. Nicki’s flows, deliveries, and lyrical abilities were present throughout the entire piece but her features fell short. The only artist that she had that didn’t take away from the quality of the album is Eminem on Majesty. Ariana Grande was tolerable but other than that, everyone failed in comparisons to Eminem’s sinister verse. In addition, the album was a bit all over the place sonically. The first half of the album is very intriguing but as it transitions you will begin to question the thought process in sequencing. Despite waiting over a year for the album, the content just seemed rushed. In fact, Nicki even admitted herself via her Queen Radio show that she had just finished the album three hours prior to airing the show.
Now here’s where I’m getting personal as far as my own individual disappointments regarding this entire era.
There was not much preparation. Nicki usually markets her music well but this era was extremely disappointing as she was shockingly inconsistent in her creative direction. She put out a three-song bundle back in 2017 after Shether was released that she scrapped due to low charting followed by two other songs this year to test the waters again in which she scrapped one of those as well. Nicki is clearly insecure about her work and is feeling the pressure of the industry trying to push her off her throne. It is unfortunate that she is going through this at this point in her career because we really need a classic Hip-hop album from her. While Nicki has good songs and albums, the only classics of her discography are her mixtapes and features. As a fan, it’s easy to say which albums are personal favorites and which are considered “Nicki classics” but how are they viewed in hip-hop history? Are any of Nicki’s albums referenced for having an impact on the culture besides Pink Friday due to record sales? Nicki as a brand and an artist will forever be remembered but she hasn’t shown much growth in creativity since The Pink Print. Titling this album ‘Queen’ was among her biggest mistake because it increased the level of criticism. Hearing the word queen makes you think of a prestige’s female who rules over many but ‘Queen’ did not embody that. While this album has moments, it fails to live up to its title.
Must Listen to Songs: Ganja Burns, Majesty, Barbie Dreams, Hard White, Chun-Li, LLC, Good From, Nip Tuck
Songs She Could’ve Kept: The Rest.