My appreciation for Nicki Minaj has grown a lot more in the past few months. This may be due in part to the subliminal messages she’s strategically placed throughout Tumblr, but I like her a lot more than I used to. I always admired her skill, but now I feel like I have a newfound respect for her as an artist. I’m not sure exactly why that is, but I can assure you it has nothing to do with her most recent hit, “Anaconda,” a barely-tolerable party rap that does manage to pack a few good turns of phrase in there, but doesn’t salvage itself. But, her new album, “The Pinkprint,” just leaked, and I feel a bit of an obligation to review it. Let’s start with the first track.
1. ALL THINGS GO
The album begins with a more somber, reflective song than what Nicki’s known for. This isn’t necessarily unheard of for Nicki, but I’d say this is one of the better ones she’s had. The lyrics skip the double-take puns in favor of more complex rhymes, and while the song is a bit too slow and not all that memorable, it’s a pretty good intro. B+.
2. I LIED
This one kind of sucks, to be honest. Nicki says it’s based on a true story, but it doesn’t seem to have very much of a story to it. It’s also definitely too slow, and the beat courtesy of Mike WiLL Made It is annoying at best. C-.
3. THE CRYING GAME
You know, I was kind of expecting this to be a more energetic album. I don’t know, maybe it was the title hearkening back to Jay-Z’s groundbreaking album The Blueprint, but I really wasn’t expecting such a slow, sullen album. The song certainly isn’t awful, and there’s some passion in the lyrics, but it’s really just not at all memorable and not nearly as deep as it thinks it is, once again. B-.
4. GET ON YOUR KNEES
Alright, this one’s a little better. A seductive ballad featuring Ariana Grande, this one is definitely the most energetic song I’ve heard so far. The only issue is that Ariana Grande’s part sounds exactly like “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry. And this song was written by Katy Perry. And Dr. Luke. Well, Nicki’s verses are pretty good, I guess. B-.
5. FEELING MYSELF
That’s what I’m talking about. Following the tremendous success of “***Flawless,” Beyonce and Nicki Minaj get back together with this banger backed by Hit-Boy’s menacing beat work. Things kind of start to fall apart towards the middle of the last verse, but this is definitely a solid track that I could definitely see getting some radio play. A-.
Oh boy. I was actually going to do a video review of this (yes, I have a youtube channel. I’ll show you it when the time is right), but I ultimately procrastinated on it for too long and the song fell from popularity. At any rate, this is a song that has a LOT to talk about. Let’s start with the most well-known aspect of it: the lyric video. This video became a source of major controversy for its blatant Nazi symbolism as a bizarre power metaphor. And as a pansexual of Jewish heritage, it seems fitting that I voice my opinion on the video in question:
I don’t give two shits. I don’t think there was any ill intent behind it and I honestly can’t be bothered to worry about everything that uses Nazi symbolism. Now, the actual video I kind of hate. Well, not necessarily hate. I do like how it turns the tables on the standard modern rap video by objectifying men and having the female lead dominate them. The only problem is that aside from that, it’s just a standard rap video. The production is boring and the whole sexual vibe of the video is pretty unnecessary.
But the song itself is perhaps the most interesting part. Let’s begin with Nicki’s verse. Now, this has so far been a very introspective album for Nicki, and the title “Only” could suggest any number of things. Let’s see what direction they take it in.
“I never fucked Wayne, I never fucked Drake”
Ohhhhhhhh. After all those years of purposely spreading rumors about yourselves and then adamantly denying them and then going right back to spreading them, I thought that you had actually fucked Drake. Alright, got it. Well, I guess we know what this song’s about now.
The rest of Nicki’s verse is essentially a brag rap that goes back and forth between terrible puns and good puns. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Chris Brown’s chorus is… inoffensive. Kind of forgettable and perhaps a bit too long, but certainly inoffensive. I think the worst part of the song for me was Drake’s verse, which lacked the lyrical dexterity of the other two and spent half the verse telling a weird story about Drake staring at Nicki’s breasts before devolving into a jumbled mess of brags with no audible flow.
Which brings us to Lil Wayne’s verse. I’ve been… less than enthusiastic about Lil Wayne’s recent work, but I have to say, this is actually a pretty decent verse. It’s certainly not Weezy’s best, but it incorporates some of his trademark wordplay and also has a really good flow. So, I give this song a solid B+.
7. WANT SOME MORE
Here’s another brag rap (am I listening to the wrong album?), this one featuring Jeremih. Jeremih’s chorus isn’t awful, but if I could sum the whole song up in one word, it would be: ANNOYING. This song is annoying. And the worst part is, some things about it are really good. About half of Nicki’s part is solid. In fact, these are easily the fastest verses I’ve ever heard from her. But for the rest of it, she does that thing where she draws out the last word of a line for like, ten seconds. Also, some of the lyrics are pretty wack, and she has some kind of vague Southern drawl…? B-.
8. FOUR DOOR AVENTADOR
All I can say about this song is, “Meh.” The verses are meh, the chorus is meh, the beat is meh, everything is meh. C+.
Jeremih is back (finally) for another “meh” track about love. Alright, so we’re back to the emotional stuff now? This is my problem with every single Nicki Minaj album. They’re too disjointed. But I guess this isn’t an awful song. Nothing really stuck out to me, but the beat is pretty nice, and Nicki’s got a pretty good flow and some decent lyrics. Another B-, I guess.
10. BUY A HEART
Now, I’m no fan of Meek Mill(z?), but I have to say, on this song in particular, he did a much better job than Nicki. Of course, that’s more a testament to how bad Nicki’s verse is than how good Mill’s is. C-.
11. TRINI DEM GIRLS
This a cute little Trinidadian-inspired joint featuring Lunchmoney Lewis. The verses are short, though well-made, but this isn’t really meant to be some lyrically-dextrous rappity rap. The beat is nice, the chorus is catchy, and it all comes together quite well. B+.
Like I said before, not a big fan of “Anaconda.” The beatwork is sloppy, the sample is sloppy, and the lyrics are… alright. There’s some funny lines here and there, and the flow is pretty OK. I’ve heard that this track is meant to be annoying, and if that is the case, then it’s a job well done. C.
13. THE NIGHT IS STILL YOUNG
This is another dumb party track (see what I’m talking about?) about the night still being young. There is absolutely nothing to say about it. B.
14. PILLS N POTIONS
I really don’t like this track. The title is certainly evocative, and if the rest of the song had been a metaphor comparing love to various drugs, it might have worked. But Nicki lost that train of thought immediately and ends up spitting some pretty mediocre bars about whatever came to mind. C+.
15. BED OF LIES
Oh hey, we’re back into the introspective ballads! What the fuck? That being said, this is a really solid one. Nicki’s verses are impressive, and the beat courtesy of Alex Da Kid fits the tone of the song quite nicely. Skylar Grey’s chorus is OK, but it has one hilariously heavy-handed line that I need to point out:
“Do you ever think of me when you lie, lie down in your bed, your bed of lies?”
Run that by me one more time, Skylar. Nah, but I give it an A-.
16. GRAND PIANO
Dang. This is actually a really beautiful track courtesy of producer… will.i.am? Well that’s bizarre? As the name suggests, the track features a piano beat and, later on, a violin solo. It’s actually a really touching song, and definitely one of the stand-out tracks on the album. A-.
17. BIG DADDY
Wow. Would you look at that? Meek Mill once again outshone Nicki Minaj on her own album. This time, Nicki does drop a decent verse, but none of it really sticks out, and she lacks the energy that Mill brings to his. Good on you, Meek Mill. I still won’t listen to you, but good on you. B-.
Alright, this is a great song. Nicki’s flow is insane, the lyrics are clever, the beat is powerful, it might be the only song on the album where just about everything works. A.
19. WIN AGAIN
Why were these bonus tracks, but “Buy a Heart” and “I Lied” made the album? This song is fire. A.
20. TRUFFLE BUTTER
Like “Only,” this track features Nicki, Drake, and Weezy just going off, and like “Only,” the results are mixed. The beat is better than “Only,” and while the lyrics don’t quite match up, they’re still pretty solid. Once again, the weakest link seems to be Drake. I like Drake, but in both of these songs, he just doesn’t seem to be doing anything unique with his lyrics like Wayne and Nicki. Wayne and Nicki both drop pretty solid verses, although once again, they both did a slightly better job on “Only.” But it still gets a B+.
21. MONA LISA
I don’t even have anything to say about this one. It just sucks. D+.
22. PUT YOU IN A ROOM
Well, I guess this is a little better than “Mona Lisa.” Now we’re back into the slow, introspective tracks that don’t actually say anything. This one’s got an OK beat and some decent lyrics, I guess. C.
Overall, I give The Pinkprint a B-. It wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t really as much of a change of pace for Nicki as I was hoping it would be. Pretty standard Nicki Minaj album, but a lot of the songs are worth a listen. Like this post if you like it, follow me if you follow me, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…
liek dis if uc cry eirietr