On her fourth studio album, Nicki Minaj is out to show that she is still the queen of the rap game, and she makes a pretty compelling case.
Over 19 loaded tracks Nicki asserts her dominance, like a slow-moving steamroller flattening everything in its path. Featuring appearances from Eminem, Ariana Grande, Lil Wayne, the Weeknd, Swae Lee, Future, Foxy Brown and Labrinth, the LP includes the singles “Chun-Li,” “Rich Sex” and “Bed,” as well as standouts like “Ganja Burns,” “Chun Swae” and “Majesty.”
If you ask Twitter, there’s little debate that the album’s most memorable track is “Barbie Dreams,” a jaw dropping power move where, over a classic Biggie beat, Nicki takes aim at the male rap establishment at large, calling out, among others, Meek Mill for still DMing her, Drake for buying her shit, Young Thug for stealing her dresses, Desiigner for being dumb and DJ Khaled for being fat, along with smaller jabs at YG, The Game, Lil Uzi Vert, Eminem, 50 Cent, 6ix9ine and Odell Beckham. It’s really something.
Nicki’s lyrical dexterity is in full flex, and the beats are never dull, though the overall pace is a little on the slow side. Like most of the hour-plus mega-albums that have become common in rap, Queen could benefit from a healthy trimming of its lesser tracks, as well as some sped-up tempos, but on the whole it’s solid and well-timed project that accomplishes its goal: Nicki is still the Queen of hip-hop.
Ryan is a writer, editor and vinyl collector currently based in Los Angeles. He started Mini Music Critic in 2017.