It's been four years since we heard a full body of work from Nicki Minaj. On 2014's The Pinkprint, she provided her fans with a glimpse into her life, one without the colorful wigs and manufactured personas. But, things are different now. The lane she helped pave for women in rap is filling quicker than expected. Her relationship with Philly rapper Meek Mill is over, and we've yet to hear the details of his legal battles from her perspective. In April, she premiered "Barbie Tingz" and "Chun Li," in an interview with Zane Lowe, where she detailed the story behind "MotorSport," and her feelings toward Cardi B. She has billed Queen as an album dedicated to getting back in touch with her self-worth, but she's also been collaborating with 6ix9ine, which raises some questions about what exactly that means. It's amidst these circumstances that today, finally, she is premiering this new record on Beats1. Here are her takes on choice tracks from new album Queen off the latest episode of Queen Radio.
For the first track Nicki premiered on Queen Radio, she explained that it is one of the most personal records on the album. She’d add that the song detailed everything in her life during her four-year hiatus since The Pinkprint. In typical Nicki fashion, however, she called out the accidental typo on the tracklist. “Ganja Burns gives me chills every time. There’s actually a typo on the track. It should be ‘Ganja Burn’.”
"Majesty"(featuring Eminem and Labrinth)
Nicki finally unveiled her second collaboration with Eminem while praising him for still pushing the bar when it comes to lyrics. No shots to those who aren’t as lyrically inclined, she added. “I didn'tlie this album is really my best whole way around. Eminem referred to me as, "the queen and her husband the last thing you want to be is our subjects.” EMINEM [said that] the queen and her husband. I love a man who is humble enough, even when he that dude, to let his woman shine. Acknowledging his queen. I will always love what you did on Roman’s Revenge and how you blacked out on that track.”
During an extended intermission between songs, it appeared that Nicki was freestyling some rather reckless verses about trying to fuck 50 Cent and canceling DJ Khaled because “ain't no fat n***a telling me what he ain't eating.” However, she’d reveal the lines were off her single “Barbie Dreams,” a tribute to Notorious B.I.G.’s playfully disrespectful name-checking song “Just Playing (Dreams).”
“Reading the reaction to ‘Barbie Dreams’ is hilarious. Everyone is saying how disrespectful [the song] is and that's why I fucking love it. ‘Barbie Dreams’ is gonna go down in history. Shout outs to B.I.G. you are still inspiring rappers every day. This man is still inspiring me every day. He's one of the first rappers who had a sense of humor. I love dope writers who can write bars and make you laugh. Eminem [after that] too. I think [humour] shows a person’s IQ and [wittiness].”
"Thought I Knew You" (featuring The Weeknd)
After playing the already-released single, Nicki went into a short, more mellow section of Queen. And fittingly, the song features The Weeknd, the king of mellow vibes to accompany Nicki in a more melodic mode, which she mentioned, wasn’t the initial plan. “I don’t need to tell you why I love that right? Once I took the rap portion of the song, it felt like it was more easy listening.”
"Run & Hide"
Before “Run & Hide” played, Nicki mentioned that her process of removing raps was the same as she did with “Thought I Knew You.” But after it played, she mentioned that the omission of bars may not be permanent. “I also took the raps out of this one. I might update it with a rap later on.”
"Chun Swae" (featuring Swae Lee)
Though Minaj had been pretty animated throughout the Queen Radio broadcast, before she played the Swae Lee-featuring “Chun Swae,” a considerable amount of excitement could be detected. Before she went into the song, she went on a shoutout spree, which included honoring Swae for being a good person and to Mike Will Made-It for a routinely stellar beat. “Shoutout to Swae Lee. He’s so freaking talented and humble and sweet. This is a fucking bop. Shoutout to Mike Will. This beat is so fucking hard.”
Nicki’s breakdown of “LLC” was one of the more entertaining of the broadcast. She’d already donned the track as one of her favorites because of her precision, but after the song played she explained how JAY-Z pushed her to make it even better than she thought it was at first. “One of my favorites from the album just for skill, breath control, precision, and raising the bar. Jay heard the song and said, 'You went hard on that 3rd verse.' I'm such a perfectionist because he said third verse and not the song, I rewrote the whole thing. It’s important to me that the greats know time was spent making this album.”
According to Minaj, “Good Form” is a track about men being subpar in the bedroom. And this was her chance at calling out male mediocrity. “‘Good Form’, I freestyled the entire ‘Good Form’. First time, one take. My reference track. Every cadence, every flow, was all my mumbles. But I went back and wrote raps to my mumble flow. My fans heard a little snippet of that in my Benz commercial.
The rapper’s explanation for “Nip Tuck” draws from the sentiment she expressed in her interview with Elle, about learning the freedom as a single woman for the first time in 15 years. For Nicki, the song is a part of her journey of self-discovery without a relationship. “Nip Tuck is one of therealest verses I wrote for this album. Every fucking word came from my soul, deep down inside. I ended it by saying, “Cause a true bad bitch ain’t weak or bitter.” You gotta know how to walk away from these niggas and be happy as fuck… You gotta know, you gon miss me when I’m gone.”
"Come See About Me"
Throughout the Beats 1 broadcast, Nicki is her usual animated self with exaggerated spurts of laughter punctuating her anecdotes. Her demeanor changes for “Come See About Me,” noting that she wrote the song about an ex she still thinks about. Her voice cracks a bit, as it did on her last appearance, but she pushes through. “That song gets me so emotional. I wanna tell you guys who that song is about so bad. The same person I wrote Ganja Burn about. You know when you’re over somebody and you kinda hate their guts but you do hope that they’re thinking about you in this crazy world. It’s one of my favorite songs of all times. It’s just crazy and honest.”
"Coco Chanel" (featuring Foxy Brown)
After being told Queen Radio was the most successful Beats 1 show, Nick threw to the last full track, “Coco Chanel” with an appearance from another Trinidadian New Yorker, Foxy Brown. “Shoutout to Foxy Brown. She’s everything. As you can see she hasn’t lost it. She’s incredibly gifted and her flow is still unmatched.”
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