Nicki Minaj really needed a banger here. Between 2014's The Pinkprint being a colossal disappointment and the rise in prominence of Cardi B, it feels like Nicki may be on the brink of obscurity coming into this. Thankfully, she's clawed it back here, unleashing an aggressive, charismatic arrogance that she carries really well. The bars she's spitting are some of her finest, with her delivery always carrying the correct amount of weight required to match the theme of the track. The consistency in the production is solid overall too, with a nice blend of samples and original works woven nicely together.
The fall off comes in two places; the fact that half the collaborators on the album fucking suck and that the juxtaposition she's going for between the aggressive diss tracks and the more chilled RnB tracks don't quite work. I appreciate the two different vibes she's going for, but to hear her mock DJ Khaled's weight in Barbie Dreams quickly followed by a more vulnerable seductive track can be quite jarring, despite the fact that both types of tracks work in a self-contained, isolated way. As for the guests, half of them are painful to listen to. Eminem, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd bring the thunder, but hearing the likes of Future, Lil Wayne and Swae Lee warble through a verse is nauseating. At least the 6ix9ine collaboration isn't here stinking up the album.
Overall though, the album is a good one, and enough to swat away Cardi for the title of Queen of Rap...for now.
Best Songs: Ganja Burns/Barbie Dreams/Chun Li/LLC
Worst Songs: Rich Sex/Thought I Knew You/Chun Swae
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