Nicki Minaj Is Scattered, Yet Captivating On ‘The Pinkprint’
Although Scattered, Nicki Minaj’s ‘The Pinkprint’ Proves Captivating
“Oh my gosh, look at her butt!” Yep, that bold phrase managed to dominate the airwaves as one Nicki Minaj managed to one-up her own edginess as an MC. If “Beez In The Trap” from her previous album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded wasn’t enough, one of the most adventurous artists outdid herself, lifting a Sir Mix-A-Lot sample in the process. “Anaconda” would only build anticipation for what was sure to be some kind of album. The Pinkprint is just that – all over the place! That said who does ‘all over the place’ better than Nicki Minaj?
“All Things Go” starkly contrasts previous album openers. It serves as a revealing opener, taking the album in a different direction than anticipated. Similarly, follow-up “I Lied” eschews “anacondas” in favor of heartbreak and a comparable level of sensitivity to the opener. Sensitivity doesn’t keep Minaj from dropping bombs (“If it was a record, it would have been classic / but f*ck you, though, orgasmic”), but it all seems to contribute to more ‘depth’ via emotion and intensity.
On “The Crying Game” continues the devastating nature of heartbreak, though does so with more groove and rhythm compared to the previous joints. Throughout, Minaj spits some legit rhymes, including:
“Welcome to the crying game where you lose your soul / where it ain’t no easy pass, you got used to the toll / ain’t no cruise control, you ‘bout to lose control…”
Give credit to Minaj – bold opening statements made through a subtler, refined approach.
The tone changes on “Get On Your Knees” featuring Ariana Grande.
“Got a bow on my panties because my ass is a present…I be laughing when you beggin’ me to just put the head in…”
Risqué, sexed-up Nicki returns full-throttle, and honestly, there’s nothing wrong with it, particularly given the three more ‘respectable’ cuts that arrive ahead of it. On “Feeling Myself,” Minaj is confident, per lyrics like “B*tches ain’t got punchlines or flow / I have both and an empire also.” The confidence only grows with an assist from Beyoncé. Hit – of course. Addressing the elephant in the room, NO, Minaj doesn’t miss the opportunity to reference masturbation.
“Only” serves as one of the album’s nastiest, boldest numbers. The restraint of earlier songs is erased. Minaj and her all-star cast (Chris Brown, Drake, and Lil Wayne) “go in.” It’s irresponsible, but the sinfulness is irresistible particularly ‘Drizzy’s’ verse.
“Want Some More” is a brag-fest. Brash and unapologetic, Minaj wipes away sensitivity. “That’s why I’m throwing shade like it’s sunny,” she spits. Equally biting is, “These b*tches suck, so I nickname these b*tches BJ.” Minaj” means what she says” with “BJ.” The production work on “Four Door Aventador” is superb; it separates itself from rest of the album. Not the crème de la crème, “Four Door Aventador” grabs listeners’ attention.
“Favorite” follows, featuring the sexed-up tenor of Jeremih: “You know that you need a rider, babe.” Keeping it sensuous, Nicki Minaj embraces the vibe, exemplified by double entendre:
“I’mma have you coming in my palace / London, Tokyo, Paris, let me update your status.”
Oxymoronic, “Favorite” possesses softness and edginess. The beginning of “Buy A Heart” is dominated by Meek Mill, who quotes himself (“They say it’s levels to this shit…”). Ultimately, the song feels undercooked.
“Trini Dem Girls” is tropically infused, a change of pace. Raunchy hit “Anaconda” is the main attraction, as Minaj joins the rampant trend of booty adoration. The best way to describe Anaconda – raw, unapologetic, bold, and “Bootylicious.” Two words: sexual overstatement.
“The Night Is Still Young” lightens the mood. Living up “Anaconda’s” energy is an elephantine task, but “The Night Is Still Young” is worthwhile. The best moment is the high-flying chorus. Remaining light, underrated highlight “Pills N Potions” is the complete opposite of edgier numbers. Penultimate cut “Bed Of Lies,” featuring Skylar Grey, is less intriguing, but sound. “Grand Piano” concludes the standard edition. The deluxe edition adds three tracks: “Big Daddy,” “Shanghai” and “Win Again.”
Overall, The Pinkprint has plenty that bodes well in its favor. It is scattered, but the same could be said about Minaj artistically. Not content to do just one thing, her restlessness translates across all of her albums. Minaj is complicated but wears complicatedness well.
Gems: “All Things Go,” “I Lied,” “Get Down On My Knees,” “Feeling Myself,” “Only,” “Anaconda” & “Pills N Potions”
Nicki Minaj • The Pinkprint • Republic • US Release: 12.15.14
Originally published December 24, 2014 on Brent Music Reviews. Edited on July 4, 2016 for The Musical Hype.