Barbz please rise: Queen Nicki Minaj reclaims her crown with her latest project “Pink Friday 2”

"Combined with Minaj’s line delivery and vocal talent, the two produce a highlight for “Pink Friday 2” while bringing old Drake back into the limelight." - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon

Wake up Barbz, Nicki Minaj is back. With the release of her fifth studio album “Pink Friday 2” 13 years after the original “Pink Friday”, the ten-time Grammy award-winning artist has cemented herself as the female rapper with the most #1 albums in history, with “Pink Friday 2” topping the Billboard 200 Album chart.

Radiating the vibrant pink utopia the first “Pink Friday” made iconic, “Pink Friday 2” is way more than a sister album, but rather a unique and reimagined encompassing of Minaj’s signature style, elevated by the help of other artists’ work.

Of the 22 songs on the track list, nine feature samples or interpolations. Opening up with the song “Are You Gone Already,” Minaj includes sections of Billie Eilish’s “When The Party’s Over,” a somber rap ballad detailing her father’s tragic death in a hit-and-run accident. It also incorporates the energetic and techno aspects of the Junior-Senior hit “Move Your Feet” in “Everybody” with Lil Uzi Vert, and a fun revamp of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper in “Pink Friday Girls.”

Minaj also stands out in her own right, as some of the best songs on the album feature her voice or lyrics alone, including fluid runs in “Bahm Bahm,” the dynamic beats and energy of “FTCU”, and the bad girl persona radiated in “Big Difference.”

By far the best track on the album comes with her long-time collaborator Drake on the song “Needle.” A duo that has produced countless hits including “Only,” “Moment 4 Life,” and “Up All Night,” this duet features the R&B and Reggae sounds that catapulted Drake’s career, reminiscent of his vocal dialect in earlier works like 2016’s “Views” and in 2017’s “Passionfruit” from his album “More Life.” Combined with Minaj’s line delivery and vocal talent, the two produce a highlight for “Pink Friday 2” while bringing old Drake back into the limelight.

While “Pink Friday 2” definitely has its high points, it most certainly isn’t shy of lows either. With mainstream hits like the single “Super Freaky Girl,” released in 2022, and 2023’s “Red Ruby Da Sleaze,” the album features many forgettable numbers. The last half of the album tended to drag not because Minaj’s lyrics were bad or because the production was off, but simply because it was outshone by their predecessors on the tracklist. 

An album perfect for dancing, “Pink Friday 2” embodies the best parts of Minaj’s music. With energetic beats, iconic lyrics, and lively auras, Queen Minaj proves once again why she is arguably one of the best female rappers ever, dropping an album that Barbz all over the world has been waiting for. With her Pink Friday 2 World Tour set to kick off in March of this year, there is no doubt it will be a spectacle, showcasing party music that will be even more incredible when heard live.

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