Nicki Minaj. Picture: Reuters
Nicki Minaj. Picture: Reuters

Nicki Minaj’s 'Queen' album reeks of ill decisions and insecurity

By Jamal Grootboom Time of article published Aug 17, 2018

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The highly anticipated fourth album, Queen, by Nicki Minaj, finally released last weekend. 

This came after it was pushed back from June 15, most likely due to Beyonce warning her about Everything is Love, to August 10, then to August 17, then back to August 10 – announcing the move on the special Queen Radio show on Beats 1 with Apple Music on the same day – yet it was pushed again by 12 hours because of miscommunication with her team. 

However, on Friday at 6pm, we finally had the album on all major platforms but, to be honest, most of the 19-track album consists of filler songs with few bops or bars to be found. Queen opens with the previously leaked track Ganja Burn, which is a so-so introduction. It didn’t add much and had already been leaked with a high-quality video. 

Next up, Majesty features Eminem and Labrinth. This should have been the opening for the album, with Minaj coming in hungry with the beat change as her verse comes in. Mr Mathers, however, is unnecessary and is more of a distraction than a welcome addition. 

If this was to be a Roman Reloaded, part two, it definitely is not that girl. Barbie Dreams is the best song on the album when it comes to lyrical content and Minaj spits pure fire. 

With the beat sampled from Notorious B.I.G’s Just Playing (Dreams), it hearkens back to 90s hip-hop and sets the stage for Minaj to call out a couple of celebrities she has problems with. Following this diss track is Rich Sex, which we all already know and still should’ve omitted Lil’ Wayne. 

Then we have Hard White, which an amalgamation of everything I loathe about modern-day Minaj. 

She sings because one of the yes-men told her she’s a vocalist, does that weird kindergarten rhyming scheme and proclaims again that she is the queen of rap over a very forgettable beat. 
This song is pure filler and forgettable.  We then hit the radio-friendly section of the album with the Ariana Grande assisted track, Bed , and Thought I Knew You , featuring The Weeknd. 

Bed is a cute little bop with tongue-in-cheek lyrics that should’ve charted higher. 

Thought I Knew You is Minaj singing again (I just want to know who the person on her team is that is lying to her about being a singer). 

Minaj can sing, but she doesn’t do the work to hone her voice, so we are stuck with autotune laden melodies. On the next song, Run & Hide, Minaj sings again and this is the point where the album begins to plateau. 

I never liked Grand Piano on The Pinkprint and the same goes for Run & Hide. Forgettable filler that should’ve been left out. Mind you, we are halfway through this album and not a single twerk song has appeared yet. 

We then have the six-minute slog, Chun Swae, which has a paint-by-numbers Metro Boomin beat featuring Rae Sremmurd member Swae Lee. 

This is hands down the worst track on the album and a waste of space. 

Minaj even tweeted out that she was unhappy with her verse on the track and wanting to redo it.

 Then why did you okay it, sis? Following that mess of a track, we get Chun Li – where we get a glimpse of hope, giving us everything we love about Onika Maraj. 

A dope beat, banging bars with a fire hook. With LLC we finally have a “twerktastic” song that is dope and Minaj switches her flow several times in the number. 

However, it still suffers from Minaj’s lack of substance, consisting of the same three themes – i.e. she’s the queen of rap, her vagina is the bomb, that none of the other female rappers are on her level and, of course, a variation of b**ches are my sons. Good Form suffers the same problem. 

It’s a nice twerk song, but it feels as if Minaj keeps talking about the same thing over and over again. 

The rest of the album has more of Minaj singing on Nip Tuck and Come See About Me, an interlude that should have full tracks because they are certifiable hits, a forced song with Future – because they’re going on tour together – and a weird combination of new and old hip hop on Coco Chanel, featuring Foxy Brown. 

Queen reeks of desperation as Nicki seems to no clear concept or theme for this album. Compared to all her previous albums, Queen finds Minaj throwing several things against the wall, hoping one of them will stick. 

In the end, we are left with an overstuffed album with small glimmers of the Minaj that ran this game, the one who bodied Jay Z and Kanye on Monster. 

However, for the most part, Queen sees Nicki’s insecurities strongly coming through – as she is no longer the favoured female rapper. 

Minaj comes across as wanting to prove herself, even though she doesn’t have to, and losing sight of what is really important, which is making a great and cohesive piece of work.

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