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Minaj’s ‘Pinkprint’ Leaves a Solid Mark

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Nicki Minaj is a modern-day Renaissance woman. She released her first studio album, “Pink Friday,” back in 2010 and followed up with “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” in 2012. She was also a judge on “American Idol” and took part in the films like “The Other Woman.” Now, she’s returned with her third studio album, “The Pinkprint.”

The album’s first three songs, “All Things Go,” “I Lied” and “The Crying Game” are clearly influenced by Nicki’s close friend, Drake. The tracks have all the typical ingredients of his work: references to skeptical critics, detailed records of the pain caused by heartbreak and proof that there is a dark side to fame behind all the glitz and glamour. The first two songs use beats akin to those of Drake’s, and were produced by artists he has worked with in the past.

Of course, no rap album is complete without collaborations from other artists. Nicki worked with Ariana Grande on “Get on Your Knees” and she also managed to feature Beyoncé on “Feeling Myself.” Both songs feature many sexual lyrics woven into the clever wordplay.

The most interesting collaboration on the album, and, quite possibly of 2014, is “Only,” featuring Chris Brown and Nicki’s fellow YMCMB labelmates, Drake and Lil Wayne. It is odd to see all four artists on one track, given Chris and Drake’s alleged nightclub brawl and concern from Nicki that Drake is making the wrong decision by moving away from YMCMB, after all of Lil Wayne’s help. Nonetheless, even with appearances from some of the biggest names in rap, the song falls flat, marred by boring beats and weak lyrics. The only saving grace is Brown on the chorus.

While “Only” may have been disappointing, “Anaconda” is one of the album’s highlights. The track’s production quality, lyrics and vocal delivery is sure to remind listeners of songs from “Pink Friday.” With lyrics like “He toss my salad like his name Romaine/And when we done, I make him buy me Balmain,” Nicki probably predicted the track would go on to be one of 2014’s biggest hits.

Nicki has numerous collaborations on “The Pinkprint” and samples a ‘90s one-hit wonder, but make no mistake: She can shine on a solo track all by herself with original material, as she does on “Pills n Potions.” While the rap verses may not be as strong as those in her other songs, Nicki’s heartfelt delivery of the hook compensates for that. She nails the balance between pop and hip-hop, and the piano ballad is another highlight on the album.

“The Pinkprint” is not a perfect album, but it definitely is worthy of listening to on repeat. Nicki Minaj proves that even though her costumes and overall appearance are not as vibrant as they were earlier in her career, she is definitely here to stay.


RECOMMENDED: Fans of Drake’s lyrical style will appreciate “The Pinkprint.”