Nicki Minaj has been quietly making moves for her next grand release.
After Nicki Minaj delivered the much-anticipated follow-up to 2012's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded with the intumescent and ambitious 22-track studio release of The Pinkprint, haters and the #Barbz alike struggled with the rapper continuing to straddle the pop/hip-hop binary. Eager for the Queens-bred femcee to hang up the multi-colored wigs and ditch Nicki Lewinsky, Roman Zolanski and the Harajuku Barbie once and for all, Minaj stans salivated over the prospect of remixes and singles like the Lil Herb-assisted "Chi-raq" signaling the rapper's return to her gilded mixtape era. Rallying for Minaj's bars to reference the Southside Jamaica/gritty Queens vibe reminiscent of her Smack DVD days over a spinning carousel of Top 40/Euro dancehall hits, fans were eager that tracks like "Lookin Ass" would put an end to the conflation of "Starships" and actual hip-hop.
The Pinkprint undeniably demands an expectation adjustment from even the most seasoned Minaj fan, putting aside the well-known "I'm a brand bitch, I'm a brand" bar-dropping entrepreneur in constant competition with the New York-battle rapper to make way for the rise of Onika Maraj. Treating fans to much more than just fleeting glimpses of her private life, Minaj dug deep to deliver an introspective autobiography--the most vulnerable the rapper has been on wax to date. Remedying the lackluster additions of the lilting Dr. Luke-assisted "Pills N Potions" ballad with an impressive sextet of bonus tracks boasting fire tracks like "Shanghai" and "Big Daddy" featuring Meek Mill, The Pinkprint is equal parts daring and ambitious--merging her gritty, battle-rap beginnings with the ultra-polished pop production that catapulted Minaj to international stardom.
With such a stark contrast between Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and The Pinkprint, fans are eager to digest this new era of Minaj's discography--an epic body of work four years in the making that the rapper dubbed as her most impressive collection yet.
“You know what?” This era will be a billion times more epic than anything ‘Anaconda’ could have delivered," said Minaj in a late 2017 interview for Dazed magazine. "I think this era will definitely be the most memorable and the most impactful of my career yet.”
“I’ve made it my business with this album to not even put a date or a deadline on it,” she said. “I can’t say if I’m fifty-per-cent, eighty-per-cent or ten-per-cent done, because I don’t know. Tomorrow, I might walk into the studio and decide that I don’t like anything I’ve done in the last six months. Or, tomorrow I might walk in and feel like the whole album is done. There’s so much beauty in not knowing. I just want to go in the studio and create like I used to, before there were any expectations. You know? When I was just having fun, working on my mixtapes, going in and creating... writing my little life.”
From breakups, feuds and chart-ranking singles to a complete social media silence in 2018, check out what Minaj has been up to following the release of her latest studio album.