First Impressions Of Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday 2'

Here are our first thoughts on Nicki Minaj's fifth studio album, Pink Friday 2.

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Nicki Minaj has released her highly-anticipated fifth studio album, Pink Friday 2 on Dec. 8. The album, which is a sequel to her debut studio album, includes 22 singles and features guest appearances from Lil Wayne, Drake, J. Cole, Lil Uzi Vert, and many more. Leading up to the release, the Barbz generated excitement with a Twitter trend where fans created AI-generated art for a fictional world named "Gag City." Now that the album is out, though, what do we think of this musical offering from the iconic rapper? Well, the Complex Music team has shared some of our first impressions below. 

Best song?

Jessica: In terms of flows and spitting, “Beep Beep” is the best and most fun song to listen to on the album. If I’m going off of just vibes and chemistry on wax, it would probably be Nicki and Drake’s collaboration, “Needle.”

Jordan: “Everybody” featuring Lil Uzi Vert is going to be the undeniable TikTok hit, but Pink Friday 2 sounded really balanced to me. Every song was pretty good, so a single one doesn’t stick out to me right now. 

Biggest skip?

Jessica: I’m not a fan of “Cowgirl,” and I don’t care to explain. But I also found myself wanting to skip “Are You Done Already.” She’s rapping well, but the song relies way too heavily on the sample of Billie Eilish’s “when the party’s over,” which only makes me want to listen to the original more. 

Jordan: The only tracks I skipped were the singles, but that was more because they had been out for so long that I wanted to get to the new music immediately. Discounting those, Pink Friday 2 really has no skips for me. 

Best thing about the album?

Jessica: Nicki is spitting and showing why she is still in the rap conversation. It’s been easy to forget this due to her Queen Radio broadcasts and Twitter threads, but I think this album does a great job of bringing the focus back to what is really important. 

Jordan: This album is Nicki’s world, and she seamlessly brings every collaborator into it. Whether it’s J. Cole, Future, or Drake, they don’t take over the songs they’re featured on because Nicki has complete control over them.

Worst thing about the album?

Jessica: For me, it’s the singing. Now, before the Barbz destroy me, I understand that singing is a part of Nicki’s artistry, and she’s incorporated it in all of her major studio albums. In the past, I have appreciated those singing breaks, but for me, this album should focus on Nicki’s very well-executed raps and flows. The singing distracts from how well she is spitting at times. The other critique would be the album’s length. When will rap be done with 20+ track projects? 

Jordan: I don’t see any glaring issue with Pink Friday 2. It sounds like the natural evolution of2010’s Pink Friday, and even though a few songs sound very similar to each other, they’re still good tracks.

Biggest surprise?

Jessica: I guess this shouldn’t be a huge surprise, but I didn’t think Nicki would seemingly diss Latto on “Fallin 4 U” and Megan Thee Stallion on “FTCU.” She had to know that the Barbz and rap fanatics in general would catch those lines and tie it to her supposed beefs with both girls. Rap disses can be exciting and entertaining, but in this case, it’s just another distraction that might be unnecessary. 

Jordan: I didn’t expect “Let Me Calm Down” with J. Cole to sound like it was pulled out of a time capsule from 2010, but I’m glad it does. The beat isn’t one you’d expect to hear Cole on but he floats, and it’s so Nicki-coded that it still fits perfectly on the album.

Favorite bar?

Jessica: Name a rapper that can channel Big Poppa and push out Papa Bear/Whole mother of the year” from "Barbie Dangerous." 

Jordan: “Greatest female rapper to ever live, and that’s on my kid,” is such a hard bar, especially on an outro track. 

Final thoughts/Overall first impressions?

Jessica: Nicki has been marketing this album as “the best album that’s been released in years.” And despite having that bold statement in the back of my mind, I still didn’t know what to expect. With that said, after a few listens, I can say there are good moments in which Nicki is spitting and showcasing her rap prowess and creativity. There are also lows in which she leans heavily into singing and no obvious standout hits. Overall, I wouldn’t put Pink Friday 2 in contention with classic projects of the last few years. And it certainly doesn't stand up to the 2010 original album. But it’s nice to hear Nicki in the context of her raps rather than a viral thread or video online. 

Jordan: Good things take time, and despite several delays, Pink Friday 2 lived up to the lofty expectations surrounding it. The album plays into the early 2010 sounds and themes that helped build Nicki’s empire and adds updated bars and elite features to bring the project to another level. It’s no easy task to have Drake, J. Cole, Future, and Lil Wayne on your album and still be the most prominent voice, but Nicki does so with ease here. Pink Friday 2 is a testament to her uncanny ability to control a song, and showcases how much she’s improved since the original Pink Friday. It’s too early to say if the sequel surpasses the original, but after first listen, Pink Friday 2 is already making a valid case. 

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