Why Nicki Minaj Remains Queen

Laurent James

11 Aug
Music

Why Nicki Minaj Remains Queen

After a decade-long reign as the undisputed queen of modern-day rap, Nicki Minaj has decided to put that title to good use. Say hello to her fourth studio album, simply titled, ‘Queen’. “This is the best album that I’ve ever done,” claimed Nicki on Queen Radio, her new Apple Music radio station, right before the album was due to arrive. Is it true?

Post-Cardi Project

Let’s just address the elephant in the room. It’s sad, but it’s true, we live in a world where female artists are constantly pitted against each other. We’d rather not get into it, but the number one question looming over Nicki Minaj’s first LP release in four years seems to be “How salty is she going to be about Cardi B?”. There is this current unwritten rule about female rappers that only one can reign supreme at a time. Gone are the days of Lil’ Kim, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Angie Martinez, and Left Eye all hopping on the same track and seemingly being happy for each others success.

After Cardi B’s meteoric rise to fame and record-breaking success, the world can’t seem to wait for the two biggest female rap artists to just tear each other apart. Despite fan theories over subliminal references and slight shade in interviews and social media posts, Bardi and Barbie have pretty much kept it all cute. There’s the collab with Migos on MotorSport, supportive tweets and of course, a MET Gala photo opportunity. The release of this album has seen multiple headlines asking “Is Nicki Minaj shading Cardi B on Queen?” and to be honest, there’s probably some slight attempts at Cardi shade on here. What’s more relevant, however, is that despite all of that mess, this actually is an incredible album.

Just Nicki Thingz

Nicki launched her new era earlier this year with the release of “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Thingz” (which didn’t end up on the final tracklist). She followed up with album cut “Rich Sex” and the Ariana Grande collab “Bed”. The four official buzz tracks have performed well, but now that the full project is here, it’s baffling why the album rollout hasn’t been different. First track of the album for instance, “Ganja Burns” is a total hit that should’ve been teased much earlier. Nicki goes on on the track, claiming “Unlike a lot of these hoes whether wack or lit, at least I can say I wrote every rap I spit.” The song’s moody and melancholic chorus are straight ear candy. We get a very pensive but authentic Nicki on the track. She follows up the opener with the Eminem/Labrinth feature “Majesty” and the Notorious B.I.G. tribute “Barbie Dreams”. She (“jokingly”) takes jabs at pretty much every man in the rap game on the track. The album then goes into the solid “Hard White”, “Thought I Knew You (feat. The Weeknd)” and “Run & Hide”. Things take an interesting turn however when the album arrives at “Chun Swae (feat. Swae Lee)” and the hit-single “Chun Li”. From here on out the album flips.

Why Nicki Minaj Remains Queen

Classic Thingz

On the JFK, Sool & DJ Wes produced “LLC”, Nicki takes no prisoners. She took advice from Jay Z when he came into the studio one day and listened to an earlier version of the track. After he complimented her on the original third verse of the track, Nicki re-wrote the entire track. From here on out, there’s no stopping Minaj. The Mike WiLL Made-It beat of “Good Form” delivers exactly what Nicki needs to shine. She plays around with her delivery and her flow is enticing and delicious. The “2 Lit 2 Late Interlude” is a reminder of Pink Friday Nicki Minaj and “Come See About Me” is the expected pop piano ballad where Nicki sings. She does it on every album and of course, Queen is no exception. That’s just what Nicki does. “Sir” could’ve done with a little less Future and a little more Nicki but hey, they’re going on tour together soon. “Miami” is a bop that holds us over until we arrive at grand-finale “Coco Chanel” where, assisted by OG Foxy Brown, Nicki delivers the club hit we need. An incredible track.

This album proves that Nicki is, indeed, a queen. Let Cardi be Cardi and Nicki be Nicki. Let’s have ourselves an entire royal family and let the terminology just be a fun side game while everyone excels at what they do artistically. In her own words: “It’s Queen Nicki dominant, prominent.”

Our top picks: “LLC”, “Coco Chanel”, “Good Form”, “Chun-Li” and “Ganja Burns”.

Queen is out now on Apple Music, Spotify and TIDAL.

Photo credits: Young Money/Cash Money Records and YouTube.

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