February 29th, 2024

Attention all Barbz: Nicki Minaj releases ‘Pink Friday 2,’ 13 years after the original

By Maria Sherman, The Associated Press on December 8, 2023.

This cover image released by Money/Republic Records shows “Pink Friday 2” by Nicki Minaj, releasing Dec. 8. (Young Money/Republic Records via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Nicki Minaj ‘s highly anticipated fifth studio album, “Pink Friday 2,” is finally here.

Out Friday, the 10-time Grammy nominee’s 41st birthday, “Pink Friday 2″ is Minaj’s first full-length release since 2018’s “Queen.”

The 22-track release is stacked with features, including contributions from Drake, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Lil Uzi Vert, Future, Tate Kobang, Lourdiz, Skillibeng, Skeng, and Tasha Cobbs Leonard.

Little was known about the album prior to its release, which makes its surprises even more effective. Opener “Are You Gone Already” includes a sample of Billie Eilish’s 2019 breathy cut “when the party’s over”; Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” makes an appearance on “Pink Friday Girls.”

The hyper-energetic “Everybody” with Lil Uzi Vert plays with a chopped-up sample of Danish pop duo Junior Senior’s 2002 retro-hit “Move Your Feet.”

And there must be something to pulling from addictive Y2K production, because “Red Ruby Da Sleeve” samples Lumidee’s 2003 hit “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh).”

The reality is, of course, that Minaj is a master of borrowing from immediately recognizable sounds and making it her own with her idiosyncratic flow – standing on the shoulders of giants and offering something completely her own ( and F-R-E-A-K-y ) in the same breath.

“Fallin 4 U” is airy alt-R&B stacked with strings that would make Enya envious, Minaj and Drake reunite on the Afrobeats-heavy “Needle.”

“This entire album will be the biggest gift I have ever given humanity thus far,” Minaj said in a recent livestream. “I have never in my life been so in love with something that I’m working on.”

The original “Pink Friday” was released in 2010, with her sophomore album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” following two years later.

The road to “Pink Friday 2″ has been long. Fans suspected it was on the horizon when the rapper tweeted a simple three-character message, “PF2,” in the summer of 2020. But it wasn’t until this past June that Minaj announced the album title. The release date, originally slated for Oct. 20, was pushed back twice, too.

In the days leading up to the December release of “Pink Friday 2,” Minaj’s loyal fans, called Barbz, inspired headlines when they created “Gag City,” a pink AI metropolis inspired by the album’s cover.

In September, Minaj hosted the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards and performed her latest single, the dreamy “Last Time I Saw You” before teasing a fiery new trap cut from “Pink Friday 2,” now revealed to be “Big Difference.”

“I ain’t nothing like you,” she rapped, “I’m on a whole other level.”

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