Same people herald Jay-Z as the greatest rapper of all time and don’t listen to his lyrics. Jay-Z himself said,
“They only know what the single is, and singled that out, to be the meaning of what he is about. And being I'm about my business, not mingling much, running my mouth, that shit kept lingering. But no dummy, that's the shit I'm sprinkling, the album width to keep the registers ringing…”
That’s the perfect way to describe Nicki Minaj.
Anyway, about the album…
I always expect very little from a debut album. It’s sort of your demo to the entire industry’s fans. I’m not looking for you to be lyrically superior than anyone in the game, I just want you to prove that you belong here. Pink Friday not only proves that Nicki belongs here, but that she’s doing a damn good job at it too. I think most listeners will be surprised with what the body of work consists of, however, when you listen to this album you can’t hate her for not letting her pop music or singles define her as an artist. It’s refreshing to see that you won’t always get the same Nicki for 13-16 tracks on an album. You get to see all of her.
Yes, all of her various different personalities that she has.
I won’t compare Nicki to Lauryn Hill, I don’t think that’s fair. The artists are very different, their content and their brevity are different. They cast very different nets in terms of the fan base and as individuals they stand alone and are great without competing with one another. I will agree with a fellow blogger, NC17, that I have to go with Nicki over Lil’ Kim, only because Biggie wrote 95% of Lil’ Kim’s content, and Nicki is original. (Aside, no one outside of NYC cares about Rah Digga.)
I think it’s also fair to say that Nicki isn’t a female rapper, she’s just a rapper. She’s banging elbows with everyone else in the industry. She doesn’t get the sixteen left for a female because you want to have a female voice on the track, she’s on the track because people respect her lyrically and enjoy her refreshing sound to hip hop. I wanted to compare the album to Drake because she mixing the rapping with singing, but in that thought I realized that indeed Nicki was not a female rapper, she was just a rapper.
The usual metrics…
Lyrically, you can tell that Lil’ Wayne is a great mentor and encourages all of Young Money to be as creative as possible all the time. Nicki has the ability to outdo everyone on everything she’s on. Missing is Lil’ Wayne, but you can tell he was in the studio screeching, “Let that bitch breathe!” Can’t be mad at her lyrics at all. And her songs are touching, emotional and will connect with all.
Production? I have to be honest the production of this album is intentionally for everyone. It has its pop moments, and it’s hip hop moments. I like that when she’s actually making a point, she doesn’t overshadow it with an overbearing beat. The use of reverb and echo throughout the album only assist and don’t carry. And let us rejoice, there’s no autotune.
I have to tell you, I thought Pink Friday was refreshing. It was a great rookie album. Leaves much room for growth and that’s all you can ask an artist to do. You will not be upset if you go to a Nicki concert because you can take this album content, all of her featured verses, and lastly her mixtape material and be thoroughly entertained.
Hard rating: 85.6.