Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday (Album Review)

26 Nov

On November 22, Minaj’s long-awaited debut album Pink Friday was finally unleashed onto the world. I am loving it.

There is an argument that, of late, mainstream hip-hop and R&B has lost its once zealously guarded edge of originality. The genres appear comfortable in a sonic rut – the raveish synthesisers that added an icy edge to Rihanna’s Umbrella, Auto-Tuned vocals, arpeggios of ‘rock’ guitar – while the rest of pop music has caught up. The result is that everything on Radio 1 from Nelly to Ellie Goulding sounds roughly the same. The jolting WTF? shock that used to be delivered hearing a new Timbaland or Neptunes production among the manufactured stuff and dreary indie has vanished. So a round of applause, please, for Nicki Minaj, who seems to have brought something different to the world of mainstream hip-hop: role-playing games.

it contains a lot of 80s music (there are chunks of Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me on Blazin’ and the Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star on Check It Out; the latter, alas, perhaps a bit more annoying than producer Will.I.Am thinks it is); at the other, on the iTunes version at least, there’s a contribution from Brit indie rockers the Big Pink. There’s something intriguingly fluid about her style; the adoption of personas allows her to flip from the foul-mouthed ho-kicker of Roman’s Revenge to devoted girlfriend material on Your Love, to – most fascinatingly – a woman openly wondering where her multiple characters end and she begins on Dear Old Nicki. Her lyrics are usually fast slick, witty and funny: “If you could turn back time, Cher/ You used to be here but now you gone: Nair,” she snaps at one juncture, perhaps the first rapper in history to threaten a rival with a depilatory cream. Occasionally, they’re just deeply odd. “I just shitted on ’em,” she announces, before apparently encouraging her fanbase to show their appreciation by waving their own excreta around: “Put your number twos in the air.” Nah, you’re alright, I’ll stick to applauding, if that’s OK with you.

Basically, I’m satisfied. What do you think?

**And if you haven’t already you can buy Pink Friday here.

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