Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday': Read EW's review

It doesn’t take long to notice that Nicki Minaj isn’t quite happy with the respect she’s getting as a rapper. Four verses into her debut set Pink Friday, on the merciless “Roman’s Revenge,” she asks as Roman Zolanski, one of her several much-loved alter egos, “Is this the thanks that I get for putting you b—— on? Is it my fault that all of you b—— gone? Should’ve sent a thank you note, you little h-. Now I’mma wrap your coffin with a bow. Nicki, she’s just mad ‘cause you took the spot…”

Though we do have a hunch, “she” could be anyone. For more than a year now Minaj has earned her place among rap’s elite by track-hopping—stealing the show on big records with fierce verses on Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad” and Kanye West’s “Monster” while branding herself as more than just a girl who can rap. Now she’s simply a great rapper. The predictable byproduct has been a mob of salty rapstresses buzzing about the new queen bee. Nicki addresses them often—whether she’s ordering her Barbies to put up two fingers if they’re crapping on their competition on “Did It On ‘Em” or threatening to iron the face on an “old wrinkled b—-” on the will.i.am-produced, Buggles-sampling “Check It Out.”

Oddly enough, the accented voices and self-assured rhymes that propelled Nicki to stardom are hardly what make this a solid album. It’s those moments when the eccentric wigs are off and aliases put away that the best songs are revealed. Like when she steps off of her throne, vulnerable and helpless on “Save Me,” uncovering a talent she kept hidden throughout her sidekick days: She sings. Well, if I might add. Minaj may not blow like Pink, but her voice is strong enough that aside from one Rihanna-assisted cut, hers is the lone voice carrying a tune. The triumphant “Moment 4 Life,” along with the album’s two lead singles, all showcase her knack for melody while boasting lyrics chronicling her struggles–be they professional or intimate ones of love and hurt. All of which are way more poignant than raps about how dope she is.

She’s often compared with a laundry list of washed-up female emcees. And sure, there’s a little Kim in there. Really though, she reminds me most of her labelmate Drake—fully aware of how amazing she is, but also how fragile. Rap’s first lady may never get the appreciation brashly expected from the aforementioned “she.” But Minaj has certainly earned it here. B+

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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  • hanna

    I must say I was not expecting Pink Friday to be as pop oreinted as it was, but I’m really impressed with her songwriting ability and singing voice. Overall, I think it’s a good, if not great, album and one that proves definitively whatever genre you place her in, or she places herself, Nicki Minaj is a star.

  • smiley

    The best female rapper eva she killin lil kim but I hate 2 have 2 choose but nicki is sexy an got talent keep doin yo thing nicki I been listen 2 yhu b4 yhu was as big as yhu is now I remeber I use 2 play yo songs an was like who is that but now errbody kno who yhu is aha keep doin yo thing wifey……….

    • Kevin “Koko” McClumpington

      What the hell did you just type?

      • Lyn

        I can try to translate

      • datruth82

        BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAHA – best comment on EW.com. Period.

  • Tax Free

    Nicki is most definately eye candy,but her skillz are overated.She is a 2 out of 10 hitter at best meaning for every 10 joints she spits on 2 are hot.The timing was perfect for her emergence due to the lack of females in the game but to crown her Queen PLEASE!!!Best of luck to her she’s gonna need it.

    • Nykese

      It seems as if she is being underrated. Nicki always come hard and your ratio is completely wrong. Sometimes what she says seem to be absurd, however, they entertain people at the end of the day, and that was the very original purpose of rapping.

  • Tequila

    Off time NICKI MINAJ IS THEE BEST FEMALE RAPPER OUT.!!! All you haters need to fall back like real talk she geting money & shes VERY good at what she do…You or nobody else gone stop her so all that hating s**t is for the birds SIMPLY AS THAT.!!!

  • Friedchickeneesha

    Nicki FTW. We need to stop all the “oh she’s better than that one” bullsh*t. Let’s just applaud and support talent. If you like her, you like her. If you hate her, you hate her. Let’s move on and JUST LISTEN. To pit two strong, opinionated, and talented African American women is a waste of time. Let’s celebrate these ladies, no matter who is supposedly better. Did Harriet Tubman say she was a better slave than her counterparts? Probably not. Let’s move on, y’all! Sheesh.

    • Friedchickeneesha

      to pit them against each other is a waste of time*

      • Nykese

        I completely agree.

  • Tallgirl

    I really like this album. Nicki is a great female rapper who doesn’t have to make her lyrics overtly sexual or vulgar to the point that I can’t listen to it. Love it!!!

  • ashley

    I’m really impressed with her…Roman’s Revenge is an amazing song…she’s quite a talent. I judged her negatively at first because of her outfits and attention grabbing, but, hey, she can back it up.

  • Preston

    Heard Nicki Minaj’s album yesterday. It was good! Very more toward a lot of dance pop grooves and hip hop beats on most of it. It’s very slick and commercial ready on many of the songs. I would rather prefer the 13 songs than the deluxe edition of 18 that Best Buy has. I like her in that package than too many filler tracks. But her scene stealing one liners are all over the album! You’ll go–Did she really say that? On every song she’s like that. She’s more toward lyricism and different personalities on the album’s songs.

  • kirk

    This album is not good. She does as decent job on other peoples songs but her bars are weak and she has alot of filler.

  • natasha helm

    I love pink friday i love nicki Minaj she is the greatest female rapper to date

  • Kelz

    I gave her a chance but Nicky IMO has just been Garbage. MY opinion.

  • tora

    I don’t like either one of the singles that she released from this album but I love her on other ppl’s tracks and from her mixtapes (songs like piggy bank and warning). I just don’t see her as a lil kim or lauren hill.. I belive she stands alone because she isn’t hard like kim and she doesn’t really convey those life lessons like lauren. I think her original comerical tracks are trash but I respect her she’s getting this money.. Ill be waiting for the next album hopefully she’ll take it back to where she started from

  • Realhiphopiscoming

    What is a pink friday??

  • TimD

    I respect nikki for what’s she doing right now. Let the haters hate keep doing your thing.

  • Tasha

    Nicki Manaj is schizophrenic and not from this planet looking like a damn clown from the circus. I am not a Lil’ Kim fan, but you sound stupid. You are brainwashed just like the rest of the little weak minded people that take up for her foolishness. I don’t really like Lil Kim but her lyrics are way better than that jibberish mess that Candyland cartoon character has to say. Lil Kim is no better selling her sex all on CD’s but this young generation today are a trip with this sense-less music. Back in the day Marvin Gaye and more that was really talking about something and she is talking crap that these immature fools like because they forgot about real music. She will never be a classic, and the CD will never be anything that people will be like, I lost my Nicki Manaj CD can you down load me another one, like Biggie, Jay-z, Nas.. Even Lil Kim’s La Bella Mafia,or Hardcore. I hope she does make it for a long time, but at the rate she is going this is just a faze.

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