Do you remember discovering Nicki Minaj in 2007? If you do then you likely know that, while Nicki’s most recent album, The Pinkprint, was solid and wildly successful, it was a far cry from her debut mixtape Playtime is Over.
Rewind to my Freshman year of high school: the raw, hardcore, and sometimes downright nasty bars on Playtime is Over made waves. Girls sporting thick Nicki-inspired bangs and pink streaks in their hair could recite that mixtape front to back for you if you’d let them. Being from Queens myself, I remember the impact that Nicki Minaj made seemingly overnight. Her debut mixtape (and those that followed) hit with a huge bang. We were obsessed and excited for the rise of this obvious star.
Image Credit: Dirty Money Records
Fast forward to 2014: That rise came and never stopped. The Pinkprint is out and the Nicki we know now is a force in the mainstream. She is, perhaps inarguably, the most important female rapper of the decade. Her influence reaches beyond music to television, beauty, and fashion. However “mixtape Nicki” seemingly took some time off while Nicki Minaj became a household name. Rather than an album bursting at the seams with gritty bars, we got that same authentic talent but this time flanked with pop music, more colorful beats, and even some full singing tracks (“Grand Piano” is a banger, do not get me wrong). We were in full support because it was good, but we were also missing that Beam Me Up Scotty sound.
Bring it in to April 12, 2017: “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz” have dropped and people are shook; there’s a think piece for every line of each song. When the beat dropped on “Barbie Tingz,” I screamed; I was not ready. I’d like to believe that OG Nicki Minaj fans (like myself) know that when we heard the bar “I went and copped the chopsticks, put it in my bun just to pop sh*t” we were instantly reminded of “Sticks in my Bun” (on Playtime is Over). Check the Chun-Li video out here. This is real rap. It’s aggressive, it’s braggadocious, it’s everything we’ve been waiting for. The old Nicki Minaj is not only still present but also still in her prime. If these two tracks are any indication of the steam she has behind her, she’s not slowing down any time soon and it’s extremely exciting news.
Image credit: Young Money/Cash Money Records
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Chun-Li and Barbie Tingz: The Old Nicki Minaj Never Left (and This is How We Feel About That). Featured image credit: Young Money/Cash Money Records