Nicki Minaj’s 2010 debut Pink Friday was a force to be reckoned with, blazing new trails for female representation in hip-hop, introducing us to a quirky new character, and remaining the rap star’s best selling album to date. Finally releasing the sequel more than a decade after her debut, Minaj effortlessly reminds us of her lyrical dexterity as an MC and reminds her ‘Barbs’ why they fell in love with her in the first place.
The track “Barbie Dangerous” oozes with confidence as she boasts about her dominance in hip-hop. The curse of humility is absent—only a few bars ever go by without her superiority entering the chat. This offering is laden with stand-by hits, the most likely being “Everybody,” a link-up with frequent collaborator Lil Uzi Vert which is reminiscent of “Just Wanna Rock,” from their latest project The Pink Tape. The Jersey Club-influenced track already has the timeline in a frenzy.
Dancehall has always been a space where Minaj has been comfortable, and she leaves little doubt that she’s one of the best at the complicated crossover with hip-hop on tracks like “Forward From Trini,” which features Skillibeng and Skeng. The album is over an hour in total run time, and towards the end, Minaj leans on samples to engaging effect, especially on “Pink Friday Girls,” a hot track that flips “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and resembles a mix of “Teenage Dream” Katy Perry with a hint of “Starships” Nicki.
Minaj’s versatility remains unmatched on Pink Friday 2. In her first collaboration with J. Cole, “Let Me Calm Down,” she fits seamlessly. The track shows a side of Minaj that the casual fan is unfamiliar with. She talks about needing patience in a relationship, while still needing her alone time. Drake, her Young Money brother, delivers on “Needle,” supplying Nicki with yet another song for us to move to.
Nicki Minaj’s spot in the hip-hop history books had already been solidified. Pink Friday 2 reminds us that no one is catching up anytime soon. The Queen stays the Queen.