Moment of truth. More than six months ago I wrote a "1 Listen Review" of Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint, and by "1 Listen Review" law I'm obligated to do a follow-up. I didn't want to though. Not because I hated the album, hatred is at least interesting, hatred compels you to write. Instead, I just mostly felt infinity shrugs, which is both the most annoying thing anyone can write about anything on the internet and a competely accurate representation of my true feelings. Revisiting the album felt like a dentist appoinment I know I needed to make...I'll totally make it next week. Yeah, next week, that sounds good. And then next week turned into next week, which turned into next month which turned into "maybe I could just never do it and no one would notice." Hoping no one would notice became my standard operating procedue, but every so often someone would emerge to hold my feet to the flames and remind me that I really did need to make that dentist appointment:
You're right people. I really do need to do a follow up review, if for no other reason than to maintain the integrity of the "1 Listen Review" format. We don't do the right thing because it's convenient, we do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. Without a follow up the entire "1 Listen Review" structure would crumble, anarchy would rule. Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!
So here we go, because I'm a motherfucking professional and this is my job I'm about to listen to the entirety of The Pinkprint again. Here, stare at this gif of Nicki for about an hour while I listen. Catch you on the flipside....
Well, the first time around I called the album, and I quote, "kind of boring," and while I'll admit to some degree of clickbait-y hyperbole, I don't feel much different today. Most of the people who disagreed with my initial review didn't actually read my initial review and assumed I was bored by the more pop-oriented material, that I was another rappity rap backpacker still mad about "Starships." Not every white guy in hip-hop is Rosenberg. It's often the more R&B and pop oriented tracks on Pinkprint that were more dynamic. "Grand Piano" is Nicki as a straight-up singer featuring the kind of string instrumentation we rarely hear anymore, "I Lied" could have easily been a Weeknd cut. I'm a 32-year-old man far more likely to spend a night knocking down beers and watching Breaking Bad than hitting the club, but while I won't (admit) to ever listening to it in my personal time, I can appreciate the mega-pop appeal of a song like "The Night is Young."
Instead, it's a lot of the more hip-hop cuts that feel so stale. "Four Door Aventador" is Nicki rapping about cars like every other rapper rapping about cars, and not particularly well. I understand there may have been some ulterior reasons Meek Mill had two songs on Pinkprint, but "Big Daddy" could have never existed and the world would be completely the same. "Shanghai"? "Favorite"? Same empty money talk as all the rest, different gender. At least "Only" and "Truffle Butter" have the added interest of Drake and Wayne and all those gossip-incuding bars.
When Nicki first broke onto the scene she was looked down on for a mix of legitimate and sexist reasons, then she crushed "Monster" and earned hip-hop's often begrudging respect, then she went so deep into the weird voices and neon outfits she became un-listenable and once again became a huge target for any Rosenbergs looking for cheap heat. Over the last year or so she's largely ditched the wigs and alien voices and gotten back to just rapping pretty damn well. I'm completely cool with this era in Minaj history. She's around but not omni-present, she occasionally comes through with the undeniably dope verse, fires sublimals at Tyga, looks damn good next to Beyonce, makes Meek Millz shed thug tears, all fine by me. And all the music that's not really aimed at me? How can I be mad when it misses me?
The Pinkprint is like last Tuesday. It's a day that happened and had to happen to get you to today, you can remember it with just a little effort, but you're not talking about last Tuesday. You had a burrito for lunch, it was delicious, you lost a Metro Card with $5 on it, that kind of sucked, whatever, it was last Tuesday. If you love this album, good for you. If you hate this album, calm down, you're over-reacting.
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks in podcast/radio form. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]