Review: Queen – Nicki Minaj
Released a whopping four years after The Pinkprint, Nicki Minaj’s Queen is an ode to mediocrity, apathy and cheapness. It’s her worst musical offering yet – furthering her rapid decline from once being a fixture in pop and hip hop culture.
It’s undeniable that the rap genre makes very little room for female artists and groups. The evidence is in the title – “Queen” reinforcing the idea that only one woman can reign supreme in terms of relevancy, in an industry swamped with men. It’s a pretty fucked concept, and a questionable move from Minaj given the newfound success of many artists like Cardi B and Cupcakke.
The singles leading up to this project weren’t exactly promising. ‘Chun-Li’ is, at best, listenable. With an unenthusiastic flow that seems to be her new staple, Minaj relies solely on a semi-interesting instrumental to keep the energy up for three minutes and twelve seconds. Nevertheless, my attention lapsed halfway through.
‘Bed’, the second single, is awful. It features guest vocalist Ariana Grande giving the worst vocal performance of her career, while Minaj exhibits a (very low) level of rap prowess that makes the listener question whether she actually still enjoys making music. When delving further into the deep cuts of Queen, all clues point to a strong no.
The album takes a whole hour to listen to, with very little reward. Somehow, the quality gets worse from the already appalling standard set by the singles. The LP opens with ‘Ganja Burns’; Minaj offering the poetic insight of a dental receptionist, glugging through a haphazard, uninspiring flow; over a track that one would expect to appear on a Royalty Free Music website under the vacation-themed section. And she sings, too. Thrilling.
’Majesty’ is nothing to write home about, with bizarre features from Labrinth (annoying) and Eminem (dated, boring, yawn-inducing overcomplexity). In fact, the only feature that brought any sort of value was Foxy Brown on ‘Coco Chanel’ – the only track I’ll consider returning to.
The lyrical content of this LP left zero impression. Nicki Minaj has either run out of things to say, or is too intimidated by the concept of an insightful metaphor. Or, she actually just doesn’t want to make any kind of musical mark, fast forwarding to the cash grab instead.
It’s bad. It’s really bad.
After putting myself through listening to such an excruciating album, I furthered my disheartenment by revisiting a time when Nicki Minaj was a respectable musician. Tracks like ‘Itty Bitty Piggy’, Kanye’s ‘Monster’, and ‘Roman’s Revenge’, when Minaj actually seemed to give a fuck about delivering a performance. The hip hop rumour mill has suggested that all of these verses were penned by a ghost-writer, which perhaps is the only explanation for Minaj’s continual drop in quality. But ghost-writer or no ghost-writer, Minaj’s entire performance style has worsened, calling into question how long this queen’s reign will last.