Album Review: "Queen"
Updated: Aug 23, 2018
Darian Harris | Contributing Writer
The highly anticipated album “Queen” by Nicki Minaj has finally been released Friday after being pushed back from its original release date in June.
Nicki Minaj (birth name Onika Maraj) was born in Saint James,Trinidad. However, Minaj grew up in Queens, N.Y. at five years old with her mother, father and two siblings. Minaj attended Performing Arts LaGuardia High School originally aspiring to be an actress.
During the mid '00s, Minaj began releasing mixtapes under a small music label. She was founded by famous rapper Lil Wayne in 2009, signing her to Young Money Entertainment. Thus starting Minaj’s immediate exposure and future success as a female rapper in the 21st century.
Minaj’s fourth album “Queen” is very versatile, containing a mix of Minaj’s singing abilities and more of her rapping skills. The rapper claimed the reason for the title “Queen” was a challenge to herself to step up and embrace her spot as the “queen” of rap. The album title also sends a powerful message to young girls to see themselves as young “queens.” Minaj has always used her platform to uplift and inspire her female audiences to feel confident and empowered.
She collaborates with many well-established and iconic artists such as Eminem, Foxy Brown, Future, The Weeknd and Ariana Grande.
Minaj represents a variety of sounds from a traditional New York style of rap within singles “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Dreams,” but also provides a more “pop” style in her singles “Bed” feat. Ariana Grande and “Ganja Burns”.
“Barbie Dreams” takes a sample from the Notorious BIG’s “Just Playing”. Being a Queens native, Minaj would want to stay true to her roots and pay homage to old school New York rappers which shows as she collaborated with fellow New York native Foxy Brown.
Minaj also takes a controversial route in this album as she decides take insults towards other male rappers and moguls who she claims as either companions or peers in the previously mentioned single “Barbie Dreams.” She confesses in the song her long withheld inner opinions or “dreams” about some of the hottest rappers in the industry such as DJ Khaled, 50 Cent and even her own Cash Money/Young Money peer, Drake.
She has claimed that some of her adversaries have labeled her as a “bad guy” and Minaj seems to want to embrace this new title in this album as many of her other songs seem to express the long felt tension that she has kept silent until now.
Overall, “Queen” is a very well put together album, despite some of the controversial songs. It shows Minaj’s talented rapping abilities and strong song diversity.
The title alone has a powerful message of learning to love yourself and teaches young women to see themselves as the young queens that they are.