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Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday

  • Release date: 22 December 2012
  • Label: Republic Records, Young Money Entertaining, Cash Money Records

Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty, better known by her stage name Nicki Minaj, arrived at the most propitious moment. Few female MCs in the male-dominated hip-hop scene saw the same level of recognition and financial success as their male counterparts in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Seizing the opportunity, Minaj entered the scene with unapologetic sexuality and incredible wordplay.

She was the ideal person to represent women trying to establish themselves in hip-hop, having the support of Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment. By the time her debut album, Pink Friday, was released, she was almost a household name.

Coming out of the gate as a really powerful and self-assured MC in any of the various personas she has chosen to assume, Minaj turned a lot of heads. The most frequent comparisons made to her are with Lil’ Kim, but those are more about image and sexuality than music; at her finest, Minaj’s on-mic work is far more akin to Missy Elliott’s free-spirited, unrestricted work. She demonstrates a wide range of skills by packing her poetry full of intricate internal rhymes, quick character and voice changes, and bizarre, twisted wordplay. On her mixtapes and guest verses, Minaj has eschewed easy classification and taken on roles like as coquette, powerhouse, woman, diva, rapper’s rapper, fembot, and comedian.

The natural reaction is to cast the finger at the label, but a song like “Dear Old Nicki” comes across as practically defending the things she did on this album, and that’s even more disheartening than the record itself. (It should come as no surprise that the four bonus tracks, which are distributed among the various LP versions, are all rap songs; “Blow Ya Mind” and “Muny” are two of the best tunes on the album.) In a letter to her “old,” insane, and more restless self, Minaj justifies the choices she made for this record by pointing out the financial benefits. R&B singer Nicki Minaj speaks to her more imaginative self, saying, “You was underground, and I was mainstream/ I live the life now, that we would daydream.


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Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Tracklist

1. “I’m the Best”
2. Romans Revenge ft Emeniem
3. “Did It On’em”
4. “Right Thru Me”
5. “Fly” feat. Rihanna
6. “Save Me”
7. “Moment 4 Life” feat. Drake
8. “Check It Out” feat. will.i.am
9. “Blazin’” feat. Kanye West
10. “Here I Am”
11. “Dear Old Nicki”
12. “Your Love”
13. “Last Chance” feat. Natasha Bedingfield