19 Songs, 1 Hour 6 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

“You were a queen before him. You’ll be a queen after him,” Nicki Minaj tweeted a few months ahead of her fourth studio album, QUEEN. Throughout her meteoric rise and even more impressive reign as one of the most formidable voices in hip-hop, female empowerment remains a constant in Nicki’s messaging. It was a motivating factor in the making of this album, which includes “Barbie Dreams,” a toothy and hilarious flip of The Notorious B.I.G. classic “Just Playing (Dreams),” wherein Nicki upends the concept of predatory masculinity, lining up a gang of her rap contemporaries as potential conquests. Elsewhere, Nicki raises a lighter to her Caribbean roots with “Ganja Burns,” which could work just as well as a dancehall riddim; goes bar for fiery bar—again—with Eminem on “Majesty”; and provides a simple solution for the Barbz dealing with unappreciative partners on “Nip Tuck.” “I think my role is putting out music that makes women feel like they can go from a poor neighborhood to doing records with the greats and being hailed as someone that shifted the culture,” Nicki told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe. “There are songs on the album that I feel women really need right now.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

“You were a queen before him. You’ll be a queen after him,” Nicki Minaj tweeted a few months ahead of her fourth studio album, QUEEN. Throughout her meteoric rise and even more impressive reign as one of the most formidable voices in hip-hop, female empowerment remains a constant in Nicki’s messaging. It was a motivating factor in the making of this album, which includes “Barbie Dreams,” a toothy and hilarious flip of The Notorious B.I.G. classic “Just Playing (Dreams),” wherein Nicki upends the concept of predatory masculinity, lining up a gang of her rap contemporaries as potential conquests. Elsewhere, Nicki raises a lighter to her Caribbean roots with “Ganja Burns,” which could work just as well as a dancehall riddim; goes bar for fiery bar—again—with Eminem on “Majesty”; and provides a simple solution for the Barbz dealing with unappreciative partners on “Nip Tuck.” “I think my role is putting out music that makes women feel like they can go from a poor neighborhood to doing records with the greats and being hailed as someone that shifted the culture,” Nicki told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe. “There are songs on the album that I feel women really need right now.”

TITLE TIME

About Nicki Minaj

Few artists have impacted 21st century rap like Nicki Minaj. Born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and Tobago in 1982 but raised mostly in Queens, Minaj attended Manhattan’s prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the inspiration for the movie Fame) before trying to make it as an actor— a past evidenced by the deep performative streak that runs through her music today. Turning to rap in her twenties, Minaj quickly became one of the brightest stars in Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money universe. Her work—shapeshifting, ferocious, cartoonish, and often filled with oddball voices and alter egos—is as capable of breaking hearts (“Super Bass”) as it is detaching heads (her breakout verse on Kanye West’s 2010 “Monster,” in which she arguably outshined both West and fellow guest Jay-Z). Minaj’s electrifying presence has also made her a secret weapon in the pop world, where she's just as likely to share credits with David Guetta and Justin Bieber as Ludacris and Future. On top of her own success, Minaj helped rap—and rap audiences—look past narratives of gritty realism for something fluid and playful, but no less genuine or powerful. Railing against the double standard faced by women in entertainment, the outspoken Minaj once told MTV, “You have to be a beast. That’s the only way they respect you.”

HOMETOWN
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobag
BORN
December 08, 1984

Songs

Albums

Videos