Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday

January 01, 1970

(Universal Motown / Young Money Entertainment)


Forget about the hit mixtapes (Beam Me Up Scotty, Barbie
) 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


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.


the Best” “Did It on ‘Em,” “Muny” A.D. AMOROSI


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