Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday

January 01, 1970

(Universal Motown / Young Money Entertainment)

 

www.universalmotown.com

 

Forget about the hit mixtapes (Beam Me Up Scotty, Barbie
World
) and the contributions to every hip-soul-rap-hop CD in the last four
years (Usher and Kanye at the very least). When I saw Nicki Minaj do her thing
live at a recent radio station showcase in Philly, she proved that she had
chops for days. She was mean, alluring, ferocious, and like no other rapper –
female or male – that I’ve witnessed since Missy Elliot. Add to that her
wig-switching personas and overall silliness and Minaj is quite a package.

 

Not a lot of that passion, aggression or oddness is on her
official label debut Pink Friday – a
pop hop charmer if ever there was. Like a haughtier Rihanna, the Sri Lanka lass
shows off her elegant vocalese atop much of Friday‘s
electro R&B fluffy stuff like “Fly” (with Rihanna as guest) and “Last
Chance” (with Natasha Bedingfield on the hooks). Those are cute tunes – just
not the cutting ones you expected, though “Roman’s Revenge” comes close
with its bitch-bashing raps and Eminem doing his “Stan” bit again. Minaj hits
it best on the bangers – the foreign intrigue of “Did It on ‘Em,” the
raucous “Blow Ya’ Mind” and the Drake take on the mirthful “Moment 4
Life.”

 

You get a sense that Minaj wanted to break through hard to
the mainstream with this album after setting on the side for so long – and so
damn well. If she wanted to make a pop R&B hop CD that would’ve been fine
and she could’ve found more dynamic melodies to suit her subtly dramatic voice.
If she wanted to make a party rap record, she could’ve set to ballin’ and
that’d been that. Instead, Minaj did something in-between. Her prerogative, for
sure. But like Bobby Brown did long ago, she could’ve found a more potent
middle ground. Still, this is a bright Pink debut and she should be proud now. Then next week, she should start work on the
real debut we know she’s capable of.

 

DOWNLOAD: “I’m
the Best” “Did It on ‘Em,” “Muny” A.D. AMOROSI

 

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