On November 12th 1996, Brooklyn rapper Lil Kim shocked the rap world with her raunchy and honest debut album. Fourteen years later, anther femme from Queens, Ms. NickiMinaj, releases her debut, Pink Friday. Just as Kim has, Minaj is shaking up Hip Hop world, and setting a precedent for female rappers. And just like her predecessor, MinaJ entered the scene more like a sex kitten than a hardcore spitter; once the sex appeal gained her attention, so did her rhymes.
Throughout the past year, Ms. Minaj went from a street sensation to a pop fad, and possibly the most sough- after rapper for track collaboration. Her transformation over the years deems her of Lady Gaga’s title: the Hip Hop version. Today, at the cusp of super-stardom, Minaj has the chance to solidify her celebrity with Pink Friday; however, will she record live up to the hype?
Production – 8
Nicki has a lot of pop friendly beats on this album, which is fine, as the intention for Pink Friday was not for it to be dark or street. The album is to appeal to a universal market, and the production ensures it. It is a blend of light guitar riffs, R&B melodies, with a subtle influence from techno and house combinations meshed with a Hip Hop base. It has the perfect combination of complexity and simplicity. The kind that will catch the listener’s ear, but not overwhelm with too many sounds at once (see Blueprint 3).
Lyrics – 7
A very shaky seven. Overall, Minaj is impressive with lyrical skill. She toned her flow down a notch and re-framed from changing tones midst-verse, which gives Pink Friday less of a Mixtape feel. It is interesting to note that several writers were credit for the album. Perhaps Minaj did not write the album in its entirety, alluding that her debut was the canvas over which she did not have full control.
Songs – 9
The content is the shining point. Minaj takes the first song of her album to serve as her own introduction, explaining where she’s been and where she intends to be. The first track in itself puts the perception of Minaj being a one-dimensional artist to a rest. Her particularly gems include “I’m the best” , “The Old Nicki,” “Fly,” “Did it on em.”
Conclusion – 8
Minaj could have followed the path of her predecessors, and more than likely she would have cornered herself in a market niche difficult to escape from. Instead, she stepped outside the box and created a new lane for female artists. The basis of her music is not sexually motivated (although Minaj’s identity is solely based on sex appeal). Her range of topics and style are as broad as her fan base. Lil’ Kim paved way; but Minaj re-set the standard.