When I first heard Nicki Minaj’s track Stupid Hoe, I instantly knew that this would be an artist that I would not be spending time listening to. When The Pinkprint was suggested as an album, however, I put my impressions aside to give a full and fair review, hoping 5 years of disinterest would leave me open to be fair. Full warning, we are not going to be doing full track analyses here.
This album does have a couple of surprises for me, for example, I really didn’t know Minaj’s voice was this decent; she has range and power and its more than generic spoken work. On listening to the full album, however, it became increasingly clear that Minaj has a lot of different voices she can use and at best it’s versatile but at worse it’s like a pile of impressions. There’s some talent but it’s confused…
If we briefly dip into a few tracks. The first two All Things Go and I Lied have the minimal backing of a slow synth and regular drum beat, backed with some inoffensive backing vocals. It’s actually a solid opening with a surprising set of emotional settings, losing children and family. The vocals as well… I have to say it pleasantly surprised me.
In the reverse side Get On Your Knees cannot be looked at for depth. Nicer vocals that work with Ariana Grande but it’s just a “plead to have me” track that is almost laborious at time. Not my taste – it’s not the message as much as the lack of content. This is one of three sequential big-name collaborations (I know Jessie Ware was on the previous track). Feeling Myself is alright Beyoncé is certainly a safe bet for quality… This track has some more of the punchline rap:
Bitch, never left but I’m back at it
And I’m feelin’ myself, jack rabbit
Feelin’ myself, back off, cause I’m feelin’ myself, jack off
Heard he thinks about me when he whacks off
Whacks on? Wax off
I laughed but it’s a bit samey and only really shines when Beyoncé sings.
We progress to Lil Wayne, Drake and Chris Brown joining Minaj and there’s clearly the collaboration effort going on; there is a lot more content and it’s richer verbally – maybe a little lewd for me?
As we carry on though… its collab after collab, which really does get wearing. The album actually surprised me in the beginning but began to get a little off as I progressed. Trini Dem Girls was a pretty dull low light for me, which just bored me.
Anaconda was obviously very well known as a single and it bothers me because it is completely the same as Sir Mix A Lot’s Baby Got Back, in theme and beat… rhythmically a little different but basically the same song…sorry!
As we go out, actually Grand Piano is a really nice ending and finally we get a showcase of her voice again in a much stripped down track with just a piano and violin. It works a lot better for me showing that hint of versatility. So… Was there an overarching thing with this album? Please tell me if there was because I’m afraid I may have missed it. It was better than I initially thought but I can honestly say I wasn’t a fan. The album was too sparse of content – some very minimal tracks could take a message and take a lifetime to say nothing of importance. Yet perhaps the album does represent a growth of style… Dare I check out the back catalogue of Minaj? Eh… maybe not right now…
Is this album for you?
If you, like me have always pegged Nicki Minaj as a bit of a vapid one trick horse, I have to say to check the album out as it is actually showcasing a whack of ability. For me there are a lot of irritations to get through and a real lack of anything other than a mob of people appearing of every track. I would advise to perhaps see what the next big Minaj work is before exploring this. This album needs to fit into a timeline somewhere but would crumble as a magnum opus.
- Writing: 5/10 (more individual work needed)
- Performance: 8/10 (a bit high maybe for me but there were some eyebrow raising moments
- Style: 6.5/10 (not really for me but not putting me off forever)
- Effort: C – (I really think a more focused album could genuinely be great)