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Album review: Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday (Deluxe edition)

currently: in class, quite tired - lousy daylight savings.

Well good morning world :)
Today's review is in this week's Debate issue 22, done on the deluxe version of Nicki Minaj. I usually avoid hip hop music, but I got really addicted a while back to the song 'Superbass'. Now I'm kinda over it, having listened to it multiple times over the holidays, but it's still a good album. If I ever do bother to listen again. To be honest, all the good Nicki Minaj tracks play on the radio already, so unless you're really committed to get the whole thing - just buy the good tracks online.

Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday (Deluxe NZ Edition)
Rating: A-

I’m not one to ever listen to hip hop or rap music, let alone choose to review an album of that genre. But I am fascinated about what makes Nicki Minaj different and interesting. She’s eccentric, a bit quirky, bold, and dresses strangely as if like she’s the hip hop version of Lady Gaga. And with this 19 track deluxe version release of Pink Friday, there are more tracks to reflect the unique character that is Miss Nicki Minaj.

The album begins with the less than humbly named track, I’m the Best. Although having a song about an artist’s journey from ‘pain to fame’ seems to be turning into a massive cliché, Nicki Minaj makes it somewhat amusing. As she raps and sings about “which world tour should I go on to take?” she makes a mockery of her “haters” by saying she’ll get millions of shoes and hang out with Lindsay Lohan just to prove how she’s risen to the top. With a solid beat and playful electric violins, the repetitive lyric of the chorus of her saying “I’m the best” establishes her identity in a playful yet obvious brag of her successes.

Nicki Minaj has a large collection of collaborating artists on this album, ranging from Kayne West to Natasha Bedingfield. One of the most successful collaborations is with the always angry Eminem, featured in the song Roman’s Revenge. In this track, Nicki Minaj plays up her eccentric characteristics by taking on the personas of Roman Zolanski and Roman’s British mother, Martha; while Eminem’s angry alter ego, Slim Shady, raps with her. Though I am a bit tired of always hearing Eminem wanting to angrily beat women up, some of the nonsensical rap (such as “Rah rah, like a dungeon dragon”) are entertaining to hear coming from Minaj and Eminem. But the song’s true strengths come from the dominating string group and the rough aggressive tone, which builds the drama and theatrical elements of the track.

Another memorable collaboration is between Minaj and Will.i.Am in the track Check it Out. Sampling the ever so catchy “oh wah oh” from the 1979 Buggles song, Video Killed the Radio Star, this song becomes stuck in your brain with its repetitiveness and its insistent lyric for you to “check it out”. The sample is given new life with its hip hop beat and once again witty lyrics, “step up to the party like my name was Mr T”. However, hearing this song on repeat may begin to get a bit tiresome.

For a different change of pace, Right Thru Me brings a slightly softer and more melodious side of Minaj. With no signs of her eccentric alter egos or over the top character, this shows her more vulnerable and emotional side as she sings about the one she loves having her all figured out. While the change of rhythm is refreshing to have, and the bass of the song is very strong and defined, the chorus lyrics of “You see right through me, how do you do that shit” feels completely out of place for a so-called love song.

Of course, one of the tracks that stand out in the deluxe version of this album is the very popular song, Superbass. The song is incredibly catchy with its light upbeat melody, captivating bass beat, and Nicki Minaj’s strength in her rapid rapping skills. For anyone to successfully rap along to this song is more than impressive. Her witty lyrics as she calls boys “pelican fly” and saying they have “got that super bass” makes it so playful and fun-loving. I’ve heard a theory that the phrase ‘Super Bass’ could in fact mean “Superb Ass”, which if it’s true, I have to applaud Minaj’s clever creativity.

There are so many tracks in this deluxe version, with so many hits, that it’s hard to cover all of them in detail for this review. But what makes a Nicki Minaj track good is her treatment of the song to be clever and entertaining, and not daring to hold back from being bold. She may be unusual, and change her hair colour more than a mood ring, but Pink Friday show how it cannot be denied that there’s a reason why Nicki Minaj calls herself “the best”.

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