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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)"
  • pthemt says:

    Bruce P The god, hilarious post my man, going in on DT for his review, and then saying;
    “That cover is all T & A. . She is a serious step back for female rappers and females in general.” like if you want some real female Hip Hop, sans T & A, check Foxy and Lil Kim??? hahaha
    Like Foxy and Lil Kim didnt keep it 100x more T & A than this chick.
    Anyhow I hate Nicki but I got to be honest, when she stops all that alter ego voice shit and straight spits, she sounds like Kim, probally the reason Kim had it out for her a lil while back for style jackin.
    Oh yeah and Bruce, stop actin like you putting people on to Big L in 2010, theres a lot of hip hop that aint sound like L in ’96 that still hits.

  • Luuuc says:

    I wanted to like this album, but sadly I think this review is right on the money. This feels to me like something that the label has been sitting on for 12 months.
    Nicki is better than this. She has proven it with some seriously good verses in the last year, but this album is on some other shit and not in a good way.
    I have faith that she will get it right on album #2 though – she is too talented to go out like this. In the mean time though, this CD is going from the rotation to the shelf with a quickness. Step your rap game up; shut your pop game down.

  • Rizzo says:

    I’m assuming that DT Swinga based his name on MOP so he may be aware of Big L.

    I would say the only dope female rappers are Jean Grey and Lauryn Hill. Although Erykah Badu fucks enough dope rappers that she should be spitting some lyrics of fury pretty soon

  • Beans says:

    I said it on Ping and ill say it on Hiphop is dying, this ish that they put out now is all a gimick, Nicki looks like someone took her out the Shopping Mall and asked her if she wants to be a rapper. Im 29 and maybe defly she is for the younger crowd, BUT i remember in my teens Rah Digga, Foxy and Kim and Ms. Hill and others spit nothing but lyrics. Nowadays its just straight Garbage. Im sorry, She will defly go Platinum sad to say

  • jack in the box says:

    Bruce, check my resume on these here comments, I’ve been hating on HHS’s bullshit for a long time, but you, and other dudes, need to stop sipping that nostalgia juice for a minute. TECHNICALLY, Nicki is above and beyond 99% of female rappers. Her style is one big gimmick, but look beyond that gimmick and you will find a technically superior EMCEE. I have no interest in listening to this album, nor most of her guest appearances, but take away all the pink and the plastic and the hype, and you have a rapper that could’ve rocked it at the Good Life/PB whatever.

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