Review : Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday
PitchforkOver the past few years, Nicki Minaj has been one of the most exciting new voices in hip-hop. She's delivered a stream of song-stealing or song-saving guest verses, one dynamite mixtape (Beam Me Up Scotty) and another, as good, unofficial one (Barbie World), and generally displayed a swagger, unpredictability, and ferocity not heard from a female MC in years. Little of that, however, is on her long-awaited debut album, Pink Friday.
Minaj turned a lot of heads by coming out of the gate as a supremely confident, powerful MC in any one of the many guises she has chosen to inhabit. She's been most often bracketed with Lil' Kim, but those comparisons are more about image and sexuality than her music; at her best, Minaj on the mic is far closer to the free-spirited, without-a-net work of Missy Elliott. She displays a wide range of talents, stuffing her verses with complex internal rhymes, agile shifts in character and voice, and twisted, offbeat wordplay. Avoiding easy categorization on her mixtapes and guest verses, Minaj has played the coquette, the powerhouse, the lady, the diva, the rapper's rapper, the fembot, and the comedian. She's posed as Rihanna on the batshit awesome "Saxon", played the harajuku Barbie on "Beam Me Up Scotty", and shapeshifted into battle rapper mode on "Itty Bitty Piggy". And while she plays fast and loose with her past, her inclination to slip into a number of characters is the work of a creative former theater kid rather than a myth-making rapper.
And then her debut mainstream single, the rhythmically militaristic "Massive Attack", stiffed-- failing to chart on either the U.S. pop or rap charts. A few months later, the Annie Lennox-sampling hip-hop ballad "Your Love"-- a track she recorded a couple of years ago, most likely as a demo-- became an accidental hit, rising from an online leak to radio. And so now the woman who stole Kanye West's "Monster" from her all-star cohorts spends the bulk of her solo debut singing instead of rapping, leaning on recognizable and often corny 1980s/90s samples, and fronting a series of midtempo songs that inevitably lean into the string-led chorus so popular in R&B these days. In short: The most unpredictable voice in hip-hop decided she wanted to be like everyone else. Fortunately, even when she's aiming down the middle of the road, she's at least better than almost anyone else....full text
MuumuseI first discovered Nicki Minaj back in December of 2009 through a promotional video for “Itty Bitty Piggy,” one of the tracks off of Minaj’s 2009 mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty.
Gum snapping, eyes rolling, breasticles ready to burst from her tight blouse at any given moment–I knew it was love at first sight.
I was not the only one to take notice. As the new year begun, Minaj’s popularity soon skyrocketed at breakneck speed. Much as Gaga ascended to overnight super stardom in 2009, so too did Nicki in 2010.
Turning on the radio was a near guarantee that you’d encounter Minaj at some point, who provided a verse to no less than ten major songs in 2010, including Ludacris‘ “My Chick Bad,” Usher‘s “Lil’ Freak” and Trey Songz‘ “Bottoms Up.”
In a world where male electro-R&B superstars dominate much of today’s US radio charts, Minaj’s playfully insane inflection and bright pink wigs provided some much-needed color to shake up the recycled radio productions–not to mention some incredible lyrics to boot.
Truly, Minaj’s verses just kept getting better as the year went on. By the time Kanye West‘s “Monster” arrived, it was clear that Nicki was unstoppable....full text
AboutIf imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, iconic rapper Nicki Minaj should be plenty flattered. In the 90s, a little known rapper named Lil Kim retroactively swiped Nicki's style and made it her own. Kim caught the attention of hip-hop heads by imitating Minaj's meticulously unique look and hawking suspiciously familiar themes in her music. But with the recent release of Pink Friday, the original hip-hop queen Nicki Minaj is here to reclaim her throne. Here's my take on Pink Friday....full text
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