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Albums Reviews

Nicki Minaj

Pink Friday
Young Money
[Three and a half stars]

Rolling Stone IN Dec 20, 2010

Hip-hop’s hottest MC makes like Beyoncé’s evil twin on surprisingly pop debut

“I got ’em scared, shook, panickin’,” Nicki Minaj boasts in her Eminem duet ”˜Roman’s Revenge,’ and anyone who’s heard this one-of-a-kind MC knows she isn’t kidding. Her mixtapes and guest shots made her massive ”“ she totally stole Kanye West’s ”˜Monster,’ rhyming “Tonka,” “Willy Wonka” and “bad bitch that came from Sri Lanka.” On Pink Friday, the year’s most anticipated hip-hop debut, she’s already rapping about the superstar life. In the standout opener, ”˜I’m the Best,’ she wonders, “Which world tour should I go on today?”

Friday is surprisingly pop ”“ there’s nothing as weird or striking as her ”˜Monster’ cameo. Instead, Minaj aims for a Rihanna-style crossover approach, singing R&B choruses over electro floss and toning down her nasty side. Ri herself guests on ”˜Fly,’ while Natasha Bedingfield does the hook-girl honors on ”˜Last Chance.’ ”˜Blazin’ is a Kanye rematch, except this time he gets all the best lines (especially “I got two White Russians, but we also need some drinks”).

Radio might go for bland ballads like ”˜Save Me.’ But the hip-hop tracks ”“ ”˜I’m the Best,’ ”˜Did It On’em,’ ”˜Revenge’ ”“ are the ones that show off Minaj’s ferociously original personality, and that’s what made her a star in the first place. Like she says, “More talent in my motherfuckin’ left thumb/She ain’t a Nicki fan? Then the bitch deaf-dumb.”

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Key Tracks: ”˜I’m the Best,’ ”˜Roman’s Revenge’

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