Release Date: Aug 10, 2018
Record label: Cash Money
Queen includes 19 tracks, which some might consider to be too long for an album. But Minaj avoids boring her listeners by changing up her flow and the atomosphere of each track. The album opens with the chill track "Ganja Burns" and then immediately heats up with Eminem 's verse on "Majesty." "Barbie Dreams," the song in which Minaj puts so many male rappers in their place, gives off a slower impression for the first two verses and then totally switches to a heavy bass for the third verse.
To reign over the charts, the critics, and the streets, a hip-hop star with pop ambitions must be everything to everyone while holding on tight to their identity. This balancing act is especially unforgiving for women, and Nicki Minaj has contended with these double standards and sky-high expectations for over a decade. Her biggest chart successes have come with songs like 2014's bawdy "Anaconda," and the effervescent "Super Bass" from her 2010 debut, but there are still incessant calls for some combination of the take-no-prisoners snarl of her breakout verse on "Monster" and serious art made up of reflection and maturity.
Mirror mirror, who's the fairest?/"You the motherfucking fairest, Nicki." It has been nearly eight years since Nicki Minaj set the world on fire with her seminal verse on Kanye West's "Monster" in 2010. A lot has changed in hip-hop since then, and something that is often forgotten is that Nicki's debut full-length Pink Friday came out on the same day as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. If there is anything symbolic to be found there, it only highlights the wasted promise of a talented rapper who often sank beneath the surface of gimmicks.
In a strange twist of fate, Nicki Minaj is actually losing for winning. For nearly a decade, the biggest female rapper to ever do it has racked up millions of sales and dozens of awards; going virtually uncontested in terms of success from her peers -- regardless of gender. But the lack of competition has made The Barbz complacent in her approach. She never had to abide by the invisible cultural lines applied within Hip Hop; opting to focus her skills appeasing fans who go nutty over iHeartMedia properties, opposed to passionate rap debates.
Despite her status as an icon of the 2010s, Nicki Minaj has had trouble channeling her talents into one cohesive album. Each effort, from Pink Friday to The Pinkprint, has felt like less than the sum of its parts. Minaj albums rarely have any disasters, but for every brilliant, incisive single, there's a handful of tracks that feel too calculated. You come to Nicki Minaj for fury, not agreeable but forgettable pop pleasantry.
Has 2018's Queen of rap finally delivered her definitive album, a statement worthy of her still-stunning verse on 2010's 'Monster'? Not quite - but this remains a mighty regal affair It has been eight years since Nicki Minaj announced herself to the world with that verse on ‘Monster’. That’s eight years of Nicki Minaj being the best female rapper in the world without having dropped a truly devastating rap album. ‘Queen’ comes to us with Nicki Minaj in a curious spot: while talk of a rivalry between her and Cardi B for the number one female rapper slot has been somewhat overblown, a lot has changed since her 2014 effort ‘The Pinkprint’.
Rating: NNN Between her massive persona, wildfire bars, groundbreaking melding of cartoonish femininity and battle rap ferocity, the disappointing thing about Nicki Minaj has been her albums. For someone who makes an indelible impression on the majority of tracks she appears on, her own LPs have always seemed calculated and concocted to hit as many markets as possible, never giving her a fully personalized sound to support her vocals. At best they showcase her ability to flow over a variety of genres; at worst they offer half-hearted verses mixed with treacly pop.