Watch my Music Minute Review:
There’s only 2 weeks to go in 2014, so it’s easy to declare that Nicki Minaj‘s The Pinkprint is the most head-spinning album you’ve heard this year. For her last effort, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Nicki split the album between her 2 music personas: the first half was hardcore hiphop and the second half was the electronic/dance sound that produced hits like “Starships”. It was a bit of headache-inducing mess.
For her first single off The Pinkprint, we got “Pills N Potions”, a spectacularly good R&B slowjam that was completely against what we had come to suspect of Nicki. It sounded like something Rihanna would record. That song failed to make much of an impact, so then we got “Anaconda” that I just named the worst song of 2014, and I stand by it. It’s a terribly unfocused track that just hit the charts because the video featured Nicki shaking her ass.
So what Nicki do we get on The Pinkprint? Shockingly, the “Pills N Potions” Nicki. I kept waiting for a dance track that sounded like “Boom Boom” or “Turn Me On”, but it never comes. The dirty hip hop Nicki (that created the awful “Beez In The Trap”) is nowhere to be found either. Instead, we get a mellow Nicki who is often introspective on R&B/hip hop tracks very much in the same vein of Drake. It took me a while to even comprehend that this was Nicki Minaj.
Leading things off with “All Things Go”, Nicki sings about living in the moment as in 7 years she plans on being busy taking her future daughter to preschool. I guess Nicki’s ass-shaking as an expiry date. A twisty guitar line gives life to “The Crying Game”, which features Jessie Ware.
Nicki collaborates with Ariana Grande, Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, and Beyonce again. Ariana pops up on the solid “Get On Your Knees”, a solid song co-written by Katy Perry that’s all about a woman being dominate. Beyonce is on “Feelin Myself”, which has Nicki back in aggressive mode. It’s decent, but once again doesn’t have much structure to it (ala “Flawless [Remix]” and Beyonce‘s “7/11”). The guys are all on “Only”, which starts with Nicki saying she never slept with any of them, then Drake and Lil Wayne rap about how they want to get with Nicki, while Chris sings the random hook about drinking and partying. Weird.
With a slow groove that has a touch of reggae to it, “Four Door Aventador” has a unique sound to it that stands out on the album. “Trini Dem Girls” takes that Trinidadian sound and creates one of the most enjoyable upbeat tracks on the album. “The Night Is Still Young” isn’t a full-out dance track, but for fans of Nicki’s past pop work, it’s the closest she gets to it on The Pinkprint.
The subdued Nicki is refreshing, but at 16 tracks (and the deluxe version has 22 songs!), The Pinkprint becomes a bit repetitive. No album can sustain itself for that kind of length. She would have been smarter to cut this down by a few tracks (bye “Grand Piano, “Buy A Heart”, “Favorite”), but I applaud Nicki changing up her style.