Album Review

Nicki Minaj "Pink Friday"

Evan Wallis
Nicki Minaj’s bravado is what has propelled her to stand out before she even released an album. With verse after verse appearing on albums from Gucci Mane to Kanye, they have displayed her anything–but-girly attitude. After a few months of running with the guys, Pink Friday, Minaj’s debut album, shows that she is not just hostile, but versatile.

The first three tracks bring the same angry flow and sharp rhymes that Minaj shocked people with on Kanye’s track, “Monster”. “Just let them bums blow steam / Radiator.” After the hardcore start, it takes a quick turn into popville – a territory where Minaj hasn’t yet been seen. Both “Right Thru Me” and “Fly” are akin to the smooth R&B style Rihanna and Mary J. Blige are known for (Rihanna even provides the hook on “Fly”). Throughout Pink Friday Minaj swerves back and forth from Hardcore Rap to R&B showing a duality that wasn’t expected by anyone, but nonetheless on point.

The two sides Minaj shows in this album are parallel to the girly squeak and husky growl she has used intertwiningly in previous verses. She has made sure not to pin herself in a corner like Jonah Hill’s acting. In doing so she has presented herself to the hip-hop world as someone that can provide hair-raising verses and inspiring hooks with equal talent. As much work as Minaj does on her album, she pulls her connections to get guest verses and hooks that accentuate her songs. Kanye repaid Minaj for the work she did on “Monster” with his verse in “I’m Blazin,” – “Nicki, whatchu think / I got two white Russians / but we also need some drinks” – while Natasha Bedingfield and Rihanna soar with their hooks on “Fly” and “Last Chance.”

If a common thread connects Pink Friday, it’s feminism. From “I’m the Best” to “Girls Fall Like Dominoes,” Minaj boasts about qualities of her and women in general. “I'm fighting for the girls that never thought they could win / cause before they could begin you told'em it was the end.” While boasting about yourself is essential to being a rapper, praising the entire gender is usually left for the likes of Oprah. In her pre-album appearances these liberating proclamations weren’t present, but with her worth as an emcee already established, she has given herself a pulpit to preach her message with whatever delivery she pleases.