Pink Friday is Nicki Minaj’s ambitious effort to establish herself as the premiere female rap artist as well as a formidable and versatile pop sensation. Nicki goes from Barbie’s beach house to outer space to the streets in the 17 track effort featuring production from Will I Am and Swizz Beatz. Early on, Nicki hits hard with her lyrical animated steez as mixtape metaphors fly like shots from an automatic rifle at rap bitches, particularly at the “has beeen” from Brooklyn. Eminem and Kanye West drop FOUR LOKO verses on “Roman’s Revenge” and “Blazin”, and just when you forget Nicki’s even on the track she returns with her “monster” flow. Decidedly Nicki takes the reigns on most of the singing vocals on the album, taking notes from the pages of Gwen Stefani or Fergie while most femcees (sans Lauryn) would have handed them over to R&B stars, though Rihanna and Natasha Beddingfield do appear on the album. Pink Friday feels like fun on a Friday night with the girls as the album takes on a hip pop vibe where Nicki boldly goes “pink” where comparable efforts like Notorious KIM had more of a “noir” vibe. Nicki doesn’t apologize for her arsenal of ear weaponry as even in her most vulnerable moments vocally and content wise she exudes confidence and self assurance. Pink Friday’s feel good vibe is hard not to like as Nicki seems like a crazy alchemist mixing silly lyrics, crazy delivery, and radio friendly pop vocals creating a Bride of Frankenstein zombie, who just so happens to be lyrically married to Drake. Pink Friday is deliberately commercial as the album has a pallet of tracks designed for mass appeal. Critics who can’t wait to compare Nicki to Lil Kim and Missy Elliott will also point out the albums uncanny similarity to the pop rap hybrid mainstream sound that reeks of the aforementioned Gwen Stefani and Fergie, only swaggerized with a pinch of blackgirl.
Pink Friday is the step in the right direction that record labels need to wake up a&r’s to sign more female hip hop artists. The cotton candy feel of the album is sure to make fans demand more- whether cotton candy, or something with more sustenance. In the high school of female hip hop albums, Pink Friday is like a goth kid that has a Lisa Frank notebook who is the captain of the cheerleading squad. The album seems contrived to please all the cliques in the lunchroom but lacks true individuality, but that doesn’t take away from its effort in trying. Perhaps unaware in its prophetic actualities Nicki Minaj drops the perfect allusion in the stand out track “Roman’s Revenge” when she boastfully compares herself to Eli Manning. Nicki’s profound analogy to her dominance of the game is an exact metaphor for what she is to the game. No matter her achievements, she will always be compared to her beloved veteran lineage.