On December 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 serves as a sequel of sorts to her debut album, 2010’s “Pink Friday.”
The album is a hip-hop and pop-rap record that borrows influences from other genres, while the project’s major themes 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 exploded on TikTok, like “FTCU” and “Super Freaky Girl.”
The musical artist perfectly encapsulates her culture, the meaning of sex, love and betrayal, and amplifies her voice to empower women in each track.
Minaj also made sure to include plenty of 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 of Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over” and also contains audio of her 3-year-old son’s baby babbles. The song is slower and more grounded.
My favorite track is “Super Freaky Girl,” which features a sample of Rick James’ 1981 hit “Super Freak.” Minaj’s track is a loud, instrumental song where she’s the sexual boss instead of all the men with who she was, letting them come crawling back for more after their breakup. This shows the roles reversed, where women have power over men instead of men having power over women.
My other favorite is “Nicki Hendrix”, which tells the story of getting back together with an ex, just to realize that things haven’t changed since the last time.
Future’s verses are about begging and begging her to love him again, while Minaj’s verses are about the plans she made with him before, which she now realizes will never happen until he will not succeed in becoming a different man.
It’s no surprise that Minaj has always used samples from other songs in her music, but when listening to this album I noticed that there were a lot more samples than usual.
Now, this isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes it strikes me as uncreative that she can’t make up her own beats.
However, Minaj’s ability to take samples from songs that wouldn’t normally be associated with an instrumental, sung rap style and create tracks that work as well as they do is incredibly impressive. Especially if it’s a slow, melodic song, much like the sample used in Eilish’s song.
Another thing about Minaj is that she will always release songs that will leave you extremely excited, and “Pink Friday 2” is no exception.
Unlike its predecessor, it takes a more hip-hop approach, while its first album was more of a pop album, with songs like “Starships.” There were many songs on “Pink Friday 2” that made me bob my head and feel confident.
Unfortunately, not every song on this album achieves this.
There are quite a few tracks that seem bland and watered down, which I ended up skipping on my second and third listen. The songs that remain, however, freshen up the record.
Often, while listening, I would ask myself, “Does Nicki still understand?” It’s safe to say that most of the time she did, but at other times it felt like she was starting to lose herself a little, which left me feeling less satisfied only with his past records.
But I can’t blame him. She is now a mother and has other priorities than satisfying all her listeners every time.
Writer’s Note: I wrote 90% of this before the conflict between Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion started. And no, I won’t talk about his breakaway track, “Big Foot.”
Overall, I felt the entire album was a forgettable, poorly put together record with fewer good songs compared to what she had written in the past. It was certainly creative in some ways, but it suffered from a lack of originality in others.
Collaborations with other rap artists were a lifeline for the record as a whole, especially with big names like Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, and more.
The tracks that gained popularity on TikTok certainly helped save this record a little more.
It was a bit messy and less enjoyable than Minaj’s other records, but it’s not a flop – leaving me no choice but to give Minaj’s “Pink Friday 2” the “Queen of Rap” for a long time, a 5.5/10.
Nick Keller is an opinion writer. Contact him at [email protected].