Power of the Pen
To say that Nicki Minaj hasn’t grabbed the attention of the world following the release of her fourth studio album “Queen” would be an understatement. Due to explosive twitter rants, notorious interviews and her Beats 1 Queen Radio show, Nicki’s return to the media throne has been seamless. And for each and every outburst she does have, the repeated stigma is around her lyrical abilities. Nonetheless the album has satisfactory reviews, but does this 20 track body of work give Nicki the crown of Queen of Hip-Hop or does she again have to prove the power of her pen? Let’s review a few tracks and see where Nicki’s pen game is really at.
"Ganja Burns" starts the album off and accompanies an island-pop, reggaeton feel. In this tell all track Nicki had a few things she wanted to get off her chest. She address her critics with lines like ("Unlike a lot of these hoes whether wack or lit, at least I can say I wrote every rap I spit") Some would say that verse is a direct shot at new kid on the block Cardi B, as allegations have risen that she isn't the word wizard behind her raps. And even though neither female as publically spoken on the steamy beef between the two, things are sure to heat up because this isn't the only time Minaj indirectly speaks to her on this album. If you skip to track five aka "Hard White" Onika is speaking directly to the ex-stripper with the verse ("I ain't ever have to strip to get the pole position. Hoes is dissin'? Okay these hoes is wishin'. You're in no position to come for O's position) Being that Cardi B is a only well-known ex-stripper turned rapper who is making a name for herself in this Hip-Hop game, Nicki could have just easily said her name, its no one else she could be talking to.
If we go back to two songs to the third released single “Barbie Dreams” we get a chance to see a different side of the aggressive lyricist. We see a more flirty Nicki in a remake to the classic Notorious BIG’s song “Just Playing(Dreams)” What some may not know is this isn’t the first time Ms. Minaj spit a couple bars on this beat. A song titled “Dreams 07” which appeared on her “Playtime is Over” mixtape, she made an earlier recreation of this track. “Barbie Dreams” is a lot more relevant to 2018 and has definitely shocked a lot of listeners. With bars like (“I tried to fuck 50 for a powerful hour. All the nigga wanna do is talk power for hours. Beat the pussy up make sure it's a K-O Step your banks up like you movin' that yayo”) Making that 50 cent and former rap group G-Unit reference it sparked the ears of Mr. Curtis himself. He that day took to Twitter to give his praises to Nicki. Many of the names on the track include Lil Wayne, Dave East, Drake, Fetty Wap, Lil Uzi, Young Thug, Drake, DJ Khaled, Eminem and ex-boyfriend Meek Mill. But I think the most shocking verse would be (“I remember when I use to have a crush on Speical Ed, Shoutout to Desiigner ‘cause he made it out special ed’) Nicki did you really have come for Desiigner’s like that?
Now this is where this review is going to make a left turn, excluding the "Inspirations Outro" and the "2 Lit 2 Late Interlude" the rest of the album wasn't lyrically impressive. The remaining songs on the album were just safe. Where was Roman Zolanski on "Majesty," he appeared on "LLC" but his delivery was so undetectable. And why did "Chun Swae" end as a long shout-out session, isn't outro’s for that? "Good Form" had a Cash Money vibe but where was Cash Money on it? I'm not sure if most even made it to listen to "Sir" which featured Future, but it came in sounding like a club banger and ended up being just "okay." Of course singles like "Chun Li" and "Fefe" were featured on the album as well but that's just what they are "singles."
After not getting an album from Ms. Minaj for four years some may have anticipated a more in-depth and structured album. Surface music gets you number 2 on the charts, simply as that. Nicki you go way harder than this. The name of your album is Queen; you are the self-proclaimed Queen of Hip-Hop stop acting like bratty Princess and reclaim your throne the pen is your hands.