There are no standout singles in this album, however if one is keen to be a part of the narrative then there are a number of compromise singles, meaning good but not great and sometimes half-baked.
These compromise singles are:
- Ganga Burn
- Barbie Dreams and
- Good Form.
4 singles out of a track listing of 19 (17 if you disregard the Interlude and Outro).
Since our original listen and review, Nicki Minaj has changed not only the track listing of the album, she has also added an additional 3 songs;
- Barbie Tings and
- Regular Deregular
This is a major bugbear of mine. First week sales are important and people would have bought the first issuance of the album as originally produced and may feel cheated as they now have to purchase the 3 additional songs seperately.
It is acknowledged that we are in the age of streaming and this may work for the streamers, however if artists would rather we stream than buy, they should be aware that this will definitely hit their pockets and their position on the charts.
According to information gleaned from recent Nicki Minaj Interviews and the Ganga Burn music video, it is inferred that the concept of the QUEEN album is one of a defeated queen reasserting her dominance and reascending her throne.
A major issue with this concept is the initial ownership of the throne, was this won or inherited, if so from whom? Self-declaration of king-hood or queen-hood without the requisite facts, quality or body of work to back this up tends to ring hollow.
The album opens with Ganga Burn, an Afrobeat inspired though rather banal and repetitive production. The lyrics do not strongly imply a queen in resurgence, this is deduced from the 3 pages of exposition in the song’s music video, which demonstrates the mediocre lyrical quality of the song and a lack of creativity/vision in the storytelling both on the song and in the music video.
The album quickly goes downhill with the uninspired and insipid Chun Swae, though there are a few bright spots when Nicki changes up her flow and tempo and drops a few killer bars.
The album takes an upswing with LLC which unfortunately looks to be a Cardi B takedown. Inspite of this, the braggadocio of the lyrics and the rap delivery as well as the breath control is impressive, unfortunately as most things on this album, this occurs half-way through the song which means it starts less impressively.
The next song is Majesty which the less said about it the better, as it is a disappointment to have such talented artists on a track that is a confused mish-mash of half-baked ideas.
The star of this album is Barbie Dreams, which is not surprising as it is inspired by Notorious BIG, with a few smatterings of Nas and a soupçon of Lil’Kim. This is a song to listen to whilst bopping your head and appreciating the shoulders of the giants Nicki is standing on and her elevation of the art-form. As usual her genius tapers off in the 3rd verse and we are back to middling.
Rich Sex is amusing, but forgettable and brings some light relief to the album, after which it is a downhill trajectory to Hard White and Bed, which to me is a ridiculous song. If the purpose of Bed is to seduce someone into your bed, it will be quite trying as I have a hard time thinking Salome will be able to pull off the dance of the seven veils to this uneventful song.
The Weeknd tends to make most songs he is guesting on better, however even he had a hard time making Thought I Knew You sound passable. This song like most of the others on the album are overlong and should have ended at the 2.30min mark. The production on this is also quite discombobulating and lacks a musical esssence.
Chun-Li is not my favourite song, however members of the team will disagree and some find this an upward trajectory in the album, which is further improved by Good Form. Good Form has a fantastic old skool beat which is let down at the first verse, however at verse 2 it feels like this could be a classic as it nears its climax, the syncopation is truly Nicki at her finest.
After Good Form comes Nip Tuck a third rate R&B song seemingly inspired by the early 2000s about cutting out an ex out of your life, this segues into the interlude and then into Come See About Me which is another unoriginal, boring, R&B song.
Sir featuring Future is the next track, the production is a typical Future beat and Nicki’s vocabulary and wordplay on this track is impressive and she is totally let down by Future who does not seem to understand the purpose of the track was to rhyme as opposed to repeating sir at the end of every sentence.
After the middling Sir track, it is all downhill from there, so disappointing, I am not going to waste my time typing out the details the other tracks.
Nicki Minaj – QUEEN: Released 10/08/2018
Original Tracks and Listing
- Ganga Burn
- Chun Swae ft. Swae Lee
- Majesty ft. Labarinth and Eminem
- Barbie Dreams
- Rich Sex ft. Lil’ Wayne
- Hard White
- Bed ft. Ariana Grande
- Thought I Knew You ft. Weeknd
- Good Form
- Nip Tuck
- 2 Lit 2 Late – Interlude
- Come See About Me
- Sir ft. Future
- Coco Chanel ft. Foxy Brown
- Inspirations – Outro
- Run & Hide
The album debuted at Number 2 in the US on the Billboard charts with 185,000 album units sold, held off by Travis Scott’s Astroworld which spent the second week at number one with 205,000 album units sold.
#NickiMinajQUEEN #popgrampodcast #fortheculture #trashit