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24 November, 2010@7:17 am

Nicki Minaj has had an incredible year, collaborating with just about every major rapper that had an album, and in many cases stealing the show. Sure, her ridiculous bodily proportions, unique facial expressions, and Gaga-esque wardrobe collection suggest that she’s nothing more than a concoction of some evil record company, but Nicki’s style is all her own. She created her own buzz through a series of mixtapes – a non-visual medium that doesn’t allow funny faces or wardrobe changes – actually creating a buzz from the verses she was smashing. Sooner or later she hooked up with Lil’ Wayne, signed to Young Money, and the rest is history.

Pink Friday is her debut, and unfortunately is the concoction of some evil record label. The unadulterated Nicki Minaj is the whole package – beauty, humor, style, skills, and sexuality – more or less and A&R’s dream. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find a way to channel all of it into a solid debut album.

Pink Friday reeks of A&R tampering, acting as if there was so much hinging on her debut that they felt they needed to “direct” the music that she “needs” to be making. The end result is a watered down version of the bad bitch from the Beam Me Up Scotty mixtape.

Dated production is one of the album’s biggest issues, as Nicki’s producers offer a series of non-threatening beats, perfect for the 14-year old girls Pink Friday is aimed at. The 80′s sample catalog is raped like Puffy circa 97, as songs like the ridiculously weak “Check It Out” (ripping Buggle’s “Video Killed The Radio Star) and equally insulting “Your Love” (taken from Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love You’s”) offer a saccharine-sweet version of Ms. Minaj. Only Kanye’s verse saves “Blazin”, which blasphemously takes Simple Minds “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, as Nikki prattles on redundantly on the hook “I fly, I fly high, I’m blazing, I’m blazing, feels like I’m blazing” and repeat.

And the show-stealing guest verses are one of the album’s other main issues. While Nicki has held her own next to the fellas all year long, she’s constantly bested by her male counterparts on Pink Friday. While her venomous indirect dis at Lil’ Kim on “Roman’s Revenge” stings, Eminem comes in and reminds us why he’s arguably the best emcee holding a mic right now. The same can be said for “Moment For Life”, where Drake delivers an incredible 16 bars, sandwiched in between Nicki’s sung vocals and T-Minus’s syrupy beat.

And perhaps that’s one of album’s biggest problems. Somewhere in between Nicki shitting on mixtape verses and making us laugh out loud with her guest appearances, she became a R&B vocalist. The terribly executed lead single, “Right Thru Me” is testament to this, as is the virtually indistinguishable letter to her old self, “Dear Old Nicki” and the sleepy “Save Me”. Other times, she’s just phoning it in with more blase’ pop production (“Super Bass”, “Last Chance”), doing little to inspire or innovate.

Ultimately, that’s what it all comes down to. The complete lack of innovation on Pink Friday. When Nicki stepped on the scene, she was like a new hope for female rappers (a sub-genre of emcees that we’ve heard little from in recent years). She was killing verses, making dudes look bad, flexing creative styles akin to Busta Rhymes or Freestyle Fellowship. And we won’t front, there are plenty of times onPink Friday where Nicki’s unique style comes through with clever, grin-inducing lines, but coupled with bad beat selection and an abundance of singing, those moments seem few and far in between. Pink Friday ends up being a missed opportunity to harness a great new talent. Maybe she’ll come back hard with Bloody Sunday.

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15 Responses to "Nicki Minaj – “Pink Friday” – @@1/2 (Review)"
  • DaRuckusBringa says:

    When did Hip Hop become about bodily proportions and facial expressions? Regardless of how this girl looks, she is lacking in the lyrical skill department. As far as the Lil Kim comparisons…I think Nikki and Kim are both lacking lyrical skills but they both prove that sex sells. Give me Bahamadia, Rah Digga, Blaze and Apani over Nikki any day of the week. And as far as Hip Hop dying. Not true. There is so much dope Hip Hop out there. Ruste Juxx, 8thW1, Homeboy Sandman, Amad Jamal. All of these cats spittin shit way better than Eminem.

  • Bruce P The God says:

    Hey all…this is just a post script. Not a full reply. I used ‘Big L’ as an example, he is not the only example. Other stuff I have been listening to is the new ‘Hell Razah’ , ’9th Prince’ , ‘Wisemen’,’blacastan’, and too many other to name…my bigger point is getting missed here. With garbage like Nicki getting propped up…the question is why ? Why prop up another major label artist ? Why not prop up some of these cats that aren’t on a major label and aren’t getting 1/10 of the mention that Nicki is getting. Even at the 2 1/2 @ review it seems like he is desperately reaching to give her some kind of compliment, but why ? What’s the point ? Nicki has all the resources , money and exposure that being signed to a major label has. She gets a lot of press on and I only have to wonder why ? She’s already been on regis and kelly, you guys can put the megaphone down now. Also, I am in no way trying to ‘puttin people on to Big L’…but his disc came out at about the same time as Nicki Minaj disc, so it makes a good contrast since at my local record shop, both were sitting on the new release wall, but Nicki’s is a lot more noticable, and there are a lot more copies of Nicki.

    Nostalgia juice ? Possibly….I’ll give you that one. But, if I give you that, it is only fair that more capable emcee’s are putting our disc’s all the time and not getting anywhere near as much mention as Nicki is. My point here is that the so called ‘real hip hop’ fans do either nothing or close to it. When something smells funny we should say so. When wack artists are being propped up, we should say so. Thats the only artists kicking real lyrics are ever going to come back….the fans need to demand it. Not ask for it in a low voice, not be called nostalgic, but speak up when the wack juice is being passed around, promoted and talked about.

  • khordkutta says:

    Somebody please give me songs i can listen to where minaj spits, not that ive been diggin but havent heard a dope verse from her yet. the dude who said shes better than 99% of females out now….name names. I watched the BET special on femcess and i could only pick out one of about fifteen they featured, that was WORSE than minaj.

  • Arsenal18 says:

    Look like DT swinga probably has this one right. The chick does seem like the female version of Busta Rhymes. I would like to hear her without all the A&R tinkering and booty pads. Who is the real nicki, I wonder? Unfortunately, thanks to the current music industry she and we will never know. She’s a good looking girl already just let her spit. No need for all the unnecessary label involvement.

    BTW, that lead single is beyond wack. She can’t sing let the girl rap of her own volition.

  • The CritIQ says:

    A terrible review of terrible noise. It’s become a “real hip hop” cliche to scapegoat these mythical “A&R”s when the truth is, the artist and their repertoir suck ass to start with. No amount of tinkering can change the fact that Minaj has no discernable skills or talents. She can’t sing; she can’t rap and if she was any good at sucking dick, she wouldn’t need to try and have a career in singing/rapping. This “review” portrays Minajh as the victim – that’s like poking oneself in the ear with a knitting needle and then giving first-aide to the knitting needle…..This site should change its domain registration to

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