After the five-year musical drought since her last album Queen, Nicki Minaj is back with the spectacular Pink Friday 2. This eclectic record is the official sequel to her 2010 debut album Pink Friday, which saw Nicki meld pop girl aesthetics to an impressive classic hip-hop sound. Its successor is just as out there. Taking place in the uncanny-valley-esque world depicted on its cover, which Nicki and her fans the Barbz have dubbed “Gag City”, Pink Friday 2 is a collection that will make your jaw drop. But if you need to be convinced to spin the queen of rap’s latest, here are the top reasons to make today Pink Friday all over again.
Nicki’s soulful new sound
Whilst Nicki has plenty to brag about across Pink Friday 2, she also spends much of this collection opening up about her life in a deeper way than we’ve heard before. The album’s introduction ‘Are You Already Gone’, produced by FINNEAS, deals with Nicki’s grief over losing her father in 2021, with lyrics peeling back the larger-than-life alter ego to reveal the real Onika underneath. A strong gospel influence simmers beneath ‘Blessings’, an ode to what God has given Nicki, whilst closing track ‘Just The Memories’ emphasises passing on our values to future generations, over breezy tropical beats. It’s a vulnerability we rarely hear from artists at Nicki’s level, and a welcome exploration of her true self behind the fame. Plus, it’s an excellent excuse to showcase her often under-utilised singing voice!
The star-studded features
The biggest names in rap litter Pink Friday 2’s tracklist, from Lil Wayne and Drake to J. Cole and Future. Throughout the creation process, Nicki welcomed fan perspective on who to collaborate with, and many favourites made the cut. The mystical ‘Nicki Hendrix’ deals with self-destruction over trap percussion, a potential track from Nicki and Future’s cancelled joint tour of the same name. The punchy ‘RNB’ makes wordplay out of the popular music genre, as Nicki plays up her sex appeal and charisma with her collaborators. And the tongue-in-cheek ‘Cowgirl’ boasts a light, airy hook from Lourdiz, before Nicki chimes in with a powerful flow reminiscent of 2012’s ‘Va Va Voom’, making for a magical hip-hop and pop blend primed for commercial success.
Although Nicki hasn’t specified whether any of these songs star her wild alter-ego Roman Zolanski, a brash gay boy from England who takes the mic on songs like ‘Did It On ‘Em’ and ‘Beez In The Trap’, there are certainly hints of his fiery personality throughout. ‘Big Difference’ and ‘FTCU’ see Nicki spitting fierce lyrics that demand respect on her name. “When I’m around bitch, you know you become invisible”, she declares, a line hard not to see a glimmer of hope for Roman’s return within.
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The thrilling samples
In the vein of ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Barbie World’, Nicki turns some of the biggest hits in history on their heads for her rap beats. Pink Friday 2 flips massive tracks like Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ and Rick James’ ‘Superfreak’. Nicki seems unintimidated by the pressure of living up to their successes, instead making each song her own. The pumping club track ‘Everybody’ makes fun, silly usage of its Europop sample, whilst the widely talked about Billie Eilish bite on ‘Are You Already Gone’ takes a sped-up TikTok-style approach to twist the lyrics of ‘When The Party’s Over’ into personal meaning for Nicki.
The never-ending tracklist
Having been in development for several years, Pink Friday 2 is an album Nicki struggled to put the final touches on. Instead of closing off this chapter with a final tracklist, she’s opted to release new songs throughout the album’s release week, meaning there’s still more to come from this expansive collection. As if this wasn’t enough, physical copies suggest the original album topped off at only ten tracks. The additional twelve songs on streaming were added closer to the release date, with Nicki still writing merely four days before the drop. This makes Pink Friday 2 a living project of sorts, making full use of modern digital music in a way few artists have yet to perfect.
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Nicki’s Classic Flow
If there’s one thing we can always rely on Nicki Minaj for, it’s banging, badass raps. Whilst plenty of these songs play with a fresher soul sound, there’s still content for the original hip-hop-heavy Barbz. ‘Red Ruby Da Sleaze’, ‘Beep Beep’, ‘Barbie Dangerous’ and ‘Bahm Bahm’ see Nicki toy with rhythm and language at full capacity. “These rap bitches you like is my sons/Still gon run this rap sh*t when I’m done” she smirks, fully aware of her power. She’s the queen, the sleeze, and a super freaky girl, indeed.