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Review: Nicki Minaj: “Pink Friday”

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Rating – 7.0 out of 10

Pink Friday, the debut album from Young Money emcee Nicki Minaj, is the culmination of an intense promotion campaign and tremendous hype.  Labeling herself as “The best b***h doing it”, the Queens native’s album was highly anticipated, unique detour in a genre which has its share of regular monotony.  Nicki’s style is unique and creative – this we know after hearing her on numerous tracks and singles.  However, can all the hype sustain Pink Friday? Pink Friday is a great effort but listeners are likely to be left aching for more.  Nicki continually walks the fine line between Hip-Hop and Pop – tripping slightly along the way.  The album opens frenetically with the quickly paced “I’m The Best” – an airy song which evokes the “Barbie” image that Nicki has long lobbied for.  Nicki’s flow has been a regular feature on the charts and others’ singles, but as a soloist, cracks become visible. As Pink Friday progresses it becomes more obvious that Nicki’s “voice” and lyrics on some tracks fail to hold up the standard she exemplified on her songs with the likes of Ludacris (“My Chick Bad”), Kanye West (“Monster”) and others.  “Did It On Em”, one of the few Hip Hop-esque tracks on the CD, has a few bright spots but overall falls short of masterful.  On said track, she says “If I had a d*ck, I’d pull it out and piss on ‘em”.  Nicki’s singles shine brightly – “Right Thru Me” has a strong melody and great long term potential combined with “Your Love” and “Check It Out.” The apparent pop aspirations on Nicki’s freshmen effort will be the primary issue the Hip-Hop audience will wrestle. Pink Friday really isn’t an opus for the “heads.” “Dear Old Nicki” tells about the Nicki Minaj many newcomers never knew, the one before the outrageous fashion statements, multiple personas, underground mixtapes and DVD’s that go way back to 2007. An interesting song, “Dear Old Nicki,” tells the tale of the New Yorker’s musical past – something Nicki typically avoids. “Save Me” is one of the brightest spots of the entire album, oddly enought.  A calm melody combined with a fast paced yet relaxing track offers Nicki Minaj crooning over some drum-n-bass.  Nicki’s decencies are re-captured in in quality song composition, something most Hip-Hop albums lack.The lone Young Money feature on the album is Drake on “Moment For Life” another bright spot on the album.  Drake outshines Nicki on this song – unlike their previous venture “Up All Night,” where she bodied her homeboy. The phenomenal lyricist many want Nicki to become shows up on “Blazin”, only to be upstaged by a scorching verse from Kanye.  “Last Chance” featuring Natasha Bedingfield is a fitting closing to Pink Friday.Nicki Minaj’s album features few bright spots that work well, but for this reviewer, there are many dim spots as well.  As aforementioned – Nicki’s style while unique and clever – does not seem to be able to hold up the entire LP, especially if you listen with a Hip-Hop ear. The album is almost a wholly pop effort, that Nicki sprinkles with Hip-Hop just to remind us how hot she can be. The quintessential problem with Pink Friday is it doesn’t commit to Hip-Hop, but doesn’t fully measure up to Pop rappers like Fergie, Black Eyed Peas and others. It is almost like a really enticing movie preview, but being disappointed when you sit down for the actual film.  To her credit, Nicki has risen to the top of a food chain in music where others have faltered. However, her brand and musicianship is still growing and, with a frenetic base, she won’t suffer on Soundscan. The judge may only see some of the redeeming parts of Pink Friday. Now, we have to defer the rest to the jury.   Jacques Morel is the creator of www.IFuxksWithThat.com. A journalist, interviewer, and personality he is a College Senior, he attends St Johns University in Queens.  

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