photo via Fortune

Nicki’s Retirement: Overlooked Gems from the Queen

It goes without saying the contributions that the self-professed (and largely embraced) queen of rap. In the last decade, Nicki Minaj’s name has become synonymous with chart success. She boasts the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100, surpassing the long standing record of Aretha Franklin back in 2015. While never having an official #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, she has enjoyed success as a featured artist on several high profile top 10 collaborations with artists ranging from Ariana Grande (“Side to Side, “Bang Bang”) to Trey Songz (“Bottoms Up”), to Drake (“Make Me Proud”). Aside from her collaborations, she’s created quite some lasting hits of her own in her reign, including “Anaconda” (2014), “Your Love” (2010), and “Super Bass” (2011), amongst many others. 

In recent years, it has been Nicki’s antics and demeanor, alongside highly public feuds with the likes of Remy Ma, Lil’ Kim, Mariah Carey, and most infamously, Cardi B. While much debate can be had on whether those incidents have taken away from her star, no one can argue or take away her pen game. Aside from her hit records, Minaj has created some of the most memorable tracks of the last decade featured as album cuts on hits such as ‘Pink Friday’ and ‘The Pinkprint’. Below we revisit five of her perhaps overlooked gems from the last decade in honor of her rumored retirement, though we are sure we will hear her bless our ears (for better or worse) in one form or another once more. 

“The Crying Game” (The Pinkprint, 2014) — One of Minaj’s strongest works from start to finish was her 2014 release. One of the standout tracks is the sentimental relationship kiss-off, “The Crying Game”. Released later as a part of a trilogy in a music video, the song features Minaj’s sing-rap ability to paint the picture of a relationship that has run its course and resorts to the act of tears as a result.

“Save Me” (Pink Friday, 2010) — A self-reflective ballad that travels through vulnerable lyrics, an infectious sample, and a minimal hook, Minaj shines searching for someone to return her to her roots as she aims to find closure in herself. Similar in parallel to the track “Dear Old Nicki”, also on the album, the track is a glimpse into another side of Minaj that would be absent on her subsequent next effort.

“I Thought I Knew You” (Queen, 2018) — A true delight and highly relatable in the era of public scandal and dishonesty, this collaboration with The Weeknd is a certified banger. From it’s trap-esque radio friendly production, to the relatable emotions conveyed by the duo. This should’ve been a bigger deal on radio last fall.

“Blazin” (Pink Friday, 2010) — This same year, Nicki was featured on the banger known as “Monster” which appeared on Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ album. According to many critics, she stole the show. Returning the favor, Mr. West appears on album cut “Blazin” and the song is every bit as hot as the title. Not to be outdone again, Mr. West offers just as much sizzle as Nicki, but the duo shine on a track overall overlooked due to collaborations with Drake and Rihanna on the album.

“I Lied” (The Pinkprint, 2014) — Emotions seemed to be a hot topic for Nicki Minaj in 2014. Similar to tracks such as “Grand Piano” and “The Crying Game”, Minaj resorts to singing her feelings of dishonesty towards emotions and love to a lover that appears to have never known or deserved her to begin with. In typical, Nicki fashion, the record does end with her resorting to rapping in a vein similar to earlier hit, “Right Thru Me”.

September 30, 2019

tags: ,

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Air

New Episodes Each Week