It’s been five years since Nicki Minaj delivered her double-Platinum-certified third studio album, The Pinkprint, a blend of raw sexuality, theatricality and female empowerment that has since redefined the template for women in hip-hop.
On “Feeling Myself,” featuring pop-culture queen Beyoncé, Nicki brazenly tells the world she switched flows four times on the same track; it’s a moment wherein the superstar entrenches herself as an icon. A host of other brilliant women — including hitmaker Ester Dean, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Skylar Grey and Jessie Ware — join her as collaborators throughout The Pinkprint.
Nicki openly highlights her icon status on “Truffle Butter,” a bonus track that became an album single and features Drake and Lil Wayne. “Man, this a 65 million single sold,” she raps. “I ain’t gotta compete with a single soul/I’m good with the ballpoint game, finger roll.”
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The Pinkprint is responsible for several of Nicki’s greatest hits, “Anaconda” and “Pills and Potions” among them, but the rapper born Onika Tanya Maraj has always been greater than the sum of her biggest records and most fruitful collaborations. Dig deeper and you’ll find brave reflections like “All Things Go,” a Pinkprint standout on which Nicki opens up about having an abortion as a teenager, along with other personal narratives.
In the wake of The Pinkprint, the music industry wholesale embraced a diverse cadre of women rappers and replicated Nicki’s success while underscoring these new artists’ individual greatness. Had Nicki not been “feeling herself,” does Lizzo earn eight Grammy nominations? Does Megan Thee Stallion trademark #HotGirlSummer? The list goes on.