Nicki Minaj has rightfully accredited herself queen status with this epic collection of hip-hop tracks that serve attitude, angst and emotion. After suffering multiple setbacks ‘Queen’ was ultimately moved forward a week and was surprisingly released to all streaming services. The honest and bold collection of tracks hears her continuing to return to her roots like she did on ‘The Pinkprint’ and deliver hard and real tracks. While there might not be any pop moments on the record there are some real commercially ready tracks that would perfectly fit on American Hip-Hop radio. Album opener ‘Ganja Burns’ perfectly sets the tone for the album with it’s contrast of aggressive rap and an emotional chorus to a rhythmic hip-hop beat. “Every time I get high, I just think about you”. She then lays down a hard beat on ‘Majesty’ which hears her teaming up with Labrinth and Eminem for the albums most aggressive track. This also hears Eminem breaking his record for his fastest rap with 123 syllables in 11.9 seconds. An impressive feat. She then shows a playful side with the diss track ‘Barbie Dreams’ where she roasts some big names. It’s a little sassy but it’s done in a fun way. She raps over Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Just Playing (Dreams)’ instrumental to pay homage to one of her favourite rappers. She goes into the playful ‘Rich Sex’, ‘Chun-Li’, ‘Miami’, ’LLC’ and ‘Chun-Swae’ where she continues her hard raps full of attitude before stripping it back. ‘Bed’ featuring Ariana Grande and ‘Thought I Knew You’ featuring The Weeknd hears her getting a little seductive and reflective before the ballad ‘Come See About Me’ strips it all the way back. Then ‘Nip Tuck’ hears her working her way back before ‘Miami’ drops all the sassy aggressiveness the start of the album embodied. Because this album has a lot of strong production and songwriting it was unsurprising that some songs like ‘Run & Hide’ and ‘Hard White’ felt a little lacklustre in comparison. But at 19 tracks long Nicki delivers a lot of memorable moments. She really has found herself as an artist and shows a lot of growth from the artist we were first commercially introduced to on ‘Pink Friday’. This album doesn’t try to make radio hits, instead she’s just speaking her truth and making decent and fun hip-hop music. If you were never a Nicki Minaj fan before, you may just become one now.
You can pre-order the physical copy of Queen from Sanity now; https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2378056/Queen