Nicki Minaj is one of hip-hop's most underrated rappers. Bar for bar, she should be considered in contention with the top two or three lyricists of her era. Her decision to "go pop"—in other words, to adapt to the more EDM-friendly sounds of the contemporary pop charts—was probably a necessary development in reaching her potential audience. But it has definitely made for more schizophrenic albums.

Try going from "Starships" to "Come on a Cone." Rather jarring!

Kanye West, on the other hand, is a big-picture thinker. His work is all about cohesion—even if, as on Yeezus, it was a very abstract kind of cohesion. Giving Nicki someone who could frame her work with some kind of greater vision would probably help her credibility with hip-hop heads. But it would also add a new tension into her work, allowing her to sidestep the pop/'real rap' trap she's found herself in recently. — David Drake

What it might sound like: