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ALBUM REVIEW: Return of the queen of rap: ‘Pink Friday 2’ by Nicki Minaj

KentWired Illustration by Sydney Spickard
KentWired Illustration by Sydney Spickard

On Dec. 8, rap superstar Nicki Minaj released her first album in five years since the release of “Queen.” It’s simply called, “Pink Friday 2,” and it serves as a sequel of sorts to her debut album, “Pink Friday,” from 2010. 

The album is a hip-hop and pop-rap record that borrows influences from other genres, while major themes of the project include Trini and Caribbean pride, reflections on Minaj’s life and her dominance in the rap industry. On the album, Minaj includes songs that have recently blown up on TikTok, like “FTCU” and “Super Freaky Girl.”  

The musical artist perfectly encapsulates her culture, the meaning of sex, love and betrayal, as well as amplifying her voice to empower women in every track. 

Minaj also made sure to include many collaborations, including artists Drake, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Tate Kobang, Lourdiz, Lil Uzi Vert, Skillibeng, Skeng, Future and Tasha Cobbs Leonard. 

The opening track, titled “Are You Gone Already,” features a sample from Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over” and also contains audio of her 3-year-old son’s baby babbling. The track is a slower, more grounded tune. 

My personal favorite track is “Super Freaky Girl,” which contains a sample of Rick James’ 1981 hit “Super Freak.” Minaj’s track is an instrumentally large and loud song about her being the one in charge sexually instead of every man she’s been with, leaving them to come crawling back for more after they break up. This shows the roles reversed, where women have power over men instead of men having power over women. 

My other personal favorite is “Nicki Hendrix,” which tells the story about getting back with an ex, just to realize things haven’t changed since last time.

Future’s verses are about pleading and begging for her to love him again, whereas Minaj’s verses are about the plans she had made with him before, which she now realizes will never happen as long as he continues to fail in becoming a different man.

It’s no surprise Minaj has always used samples from other songs in her music, but during my listening of this album, I noticed there were considerably more samples than usual.

Now, this isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes it can feel uncreative to me that she couldn’t create her own beats.

However, Minaj’s ability to take samples from songs that wouldn’t normally pair with a rap style of instrumental and singing and create tracks that work as well as they do is incredibly impressive. Especially if it’s an otherwise slow, melodic song much like the sample used from Eilish’s song. 

Another thing about Minaj is she will always release songs that get you extremely pumped up, and “Pink Friday 2” is no exception.

Unlike its predecessor, it takes a more hip-hop approach, whereas her debut album felt more like a pop album, with songs like “Starships.” There were numerous songs on “Pink Friday 2” that got me bopping my head and feeling confident. 

Unfortunately, not every track on this album succeeds in doing so. 

There are quite a few tracks that just feel bland and watered down, which I ended up just skipping my second and third times listening. The songs that remain, however, keep the record refreshed. 

A lot of times during my listening, I would ask myself, “Does Nicki still got it?” It’s safe to say that for the majority of the time, she does, but other times I felt as if she started to lose herself a bit, which left me walking away feeling less satisfied than I did with her past records.

I can’t blame her, though. She’s a mother now and has other priorities besides making all her listeners satisfied every time. 

Note from the writer: I wrote 90% of this before Minaj’s beef with Megan Thee Stallion started. And no, I won’t be talking about her diss track, “Big Foot.” 

All in all, I felt the whole album was a forgettable, sloppily-put-together record with a lesser number of great songs compared to the things she’s put together in the past. It was definitely creative at points, but it suffers from a lack of originality at others. 

The collaborations with other rap artists were a lifesaver for the record as a whole, especially with the big names like Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, etc. 

The tracks that gained TikTok popularity definitely helped save this record a little more too. 

It was a little messy and less enjoyable than other records from Minaj, but it’s not a flop – leaving me no choice but to give “Pink Friday 2” by Minaj, the long standing “Queen of Rap,” a 5.5/10. 

Nick Keller is an opinion writer. Contact him at [email protected].

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