Pink Friday 2
After delays, teases, rumors, and more, Nicki Minaj’s epic and much-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s Queen arrives to close out 2023 in style. At 22 tracks and over 70 minutes, the epic project features Minaj tag-teaming with fellow global stars like J. Cole, Drake, Future, Lil Wayne, and Lil Uzi Vert—that is, when she’s not aiming for the throne on solo cuts. Like 2010’s Pink Friday (Minaj’s debut album), Pink Friday 2 features Minaj showcasing the various ways she can carry a track. On some songs, she brings out her best bars, unloading clever one-liners and technically flashy verses. On the album’s second track, “Barbie Dangerous,” Minaj spits over a hypnotizing piano melody and drums that hit like a punch in the gut. Switching between a smooth, controlled flow and a vicious double-time delivery, Minaj is in full control of the song’s dynamics from beginning to end. She makes her claim as one of rap’s great innovators, spitting, “Name a rapper that can channel Big Poppa and push out Papa Bear/Ho, I’m mother of the year/Every summer, I come out to walk bitches, make ’em disappear/But to me, it's just another year.” On “Nicki Hendrix,” she teams up with Future and taps into his toxic vulnerability, writing a song of love and love lost that would fit nicely into her collaborator’s catalog. At her best, Nicki is uninhibited by style, substance, or delivery. She raps, “Baby, did you think there were a million mes?/I guess I underestimated you too.” Whether engaging in a street cypher with J. Cole, chirping at exes with Drake, or lamenting what once was with Future, Nicki Minaj shows off every weapon in her arsenal on Pink Friday 2.