Saturday Night Live - Season 40

Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint opens with “All Things Go,” one of the rapper’s most sincere depictions of her life. It’s as if the curtains are being opened, revealing some of the emotions and details behind what has been a very protected and mostly-hidden personal life.

“Ten years ago, that’s when you proposed,” she raps on the track, apparently talking to her rumored longtime boyfriend, Safaree “SB” Samuels. “I looked down, ‘Yes, I suppose.’” Much like the rest of the album, the opener acts as a nod to her reported relationship and break-up. But the song carries depth by also revealing more about her family life and the guilt that often comes with success. “I lost my little cousin to a senseless act of violence,” she raps. “His sister said he wanted to stay with me, but I didn’t invite him / Why didn’t he ask? Or am I just buggin’? / ‘Cause since I got fame, they don’t act the same, even though they know that I love ‘em.”

It’s this type of refreshing honesty that makes The Pinkprint an enjoyable listen, but it’s also thanks to her penchant for bangers. The world’s already gotten its hands on “Only,” a catchy and sensual tune that features Nicki, Drake and Lil Wayne rhyming about their fantasies (a song that apparently didn’t upset Safaree). That same chemistry also shines through on “Truffle Butter,” a selection that links the trio for another radio-ready smash. When she’s not with her Young Money family, Nicki still delivers the potent cuts (see the Meek Mill-assisted “Big Daddy”).

Of course, we’ve heard more about her personal life on “Bed of Lies,” the ballad-like cut that features Skylar Grey, a canvas for more of what appear to be stinging rhymes about her rumored ex. “You can never make eye contact,” she rhymes to kick the track off. “Everything you got was based off my contacts.” And as if that isn’t enough to sting any former significant other, she continues: “Put you in the crib and you ain’t never pay a bill in it / I was killin’ it, man, you got me poppin’ pills in it.”

Nicki Minaj feat. Drake And Lil Wayne- “Only”

The strong rap collaborations will make Nicki’s hip-hop fan base applaud as many hope she will finally return to “Mixtape Nicki” mode, but the rapper-singer doesn’t shy away from her pop-friendly charm on The Pinkprint. The Ariana Grande-assisted “Get On Your Knees,” the Beyonce collab “Feelin’ Myself,” “The Crying Game” and “The Night Is Still Young” prove her pop sensibility is still an important part of her repertoire. And that’s just a sample of the pop lean here.

If you haven’t noticed how different these sounds all are, the album has a varied quality in its 19 songs and even more if you listen to the deluxe edition. By the end of the project, you get the sense that it’s lost its focus somewhere along the way. You go from emotional vulnerability to high-energy club music, from rap to pop, from flawless flows (“Four Door Aventador”) to dull rhymes like, “I floss every day, but I ain’t a dentist” on “Truffle Butter.” All of these elements add to a less-than-flawless album. But even with the missteps and a lack of overall cohesion, there are definitely enough solid bangers and honest lyrics here to please any Nicki Minaj fan and then some.

 

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