Album Preview: Everything We Know About Nicki Minaj’s ‘Queen’
Believe it or not, we are less than a month away from the release of Nicki Minaj’s much-anticipated 4th LP, Queen! Four years have passed since the rapper rolled out The Pinkprint, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. Since then, the 35-year-old has broken records, engaged in several high-profile beefs and released a bevy of hot tracks.
While NM4 is still very much shrouded in mystery, Barbz have shown remarkable aptitude for detective work — piecing together enough information to get us very excited about the new era. In celebration of the imminent release, we have compiled everything we know about the album so far below.
Title & Release Date:
The rap legend spilled a lot of tea as she walked the red carpet at the 2018 Met Gala. She kicked off the night by announcing the title and release date of her new LP. “It’s a big night for me because I just let the world know that my album is coming June 15 and it’s called Queen, and I can’t wait,” she told a reporter.
Rumors have swirled about a follow-up to The Pinkprint for years now. Nicki opened up about the forthcoming LP in a 2016 interview with Nylon. Explaining that she took time off for an emotional reset, the hitmaker hoped to start the new project in a happier state of mind. “Where I left off with The Pinkprint was a little bit emotionally unstable,” she said. “Now, I want my happiness to be reflected in the new stuff.” Anticipation reached new heights when “The Pinkprint Freestyle” appeared on the artist’s SoundCloud in September. Later that year, she trolled fans on Twitter by teasing the release of a fake album called Pick My Fruit Out.
In 2017, Nicki promised fans the album was at least a quarter of the way complete during a Q&A on Twitter. Then, in an interview with Dazed, she opened up about her decision to work without a timeline. “There’s so much beauty in not knowing. I just want to go in the studio and create like I used to, before there were any expectations. You know? When I was just having fun, working on my mistakes, going in and creating… writing my life.” Things got more serious at the end of 2017. By December, the rapper disappeared off social media. A source told TMZ the absence was to help her focus on the new album.
Nicki has remained relatively quiet about what to expect on the album. However, the “Anaconda” queen made one thing clear while speaking with Dazed. You can expect a classic. “I have to release a classic at this point,” she said. In an interview with the New York Times’ style magazine, T, she alluded to a return to her roots. “This album is everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy. It feels almost like a celebration. The last album, ‘The Pink Print,’ was almost like my diary, closing the chapter on certain things and not knowing if I was happy or sad about beginning new chapters. I was really writing about feeling unsure. Now, I can tell you guys what happened for the last two years of my life. I know who I am. I am getting Nicki Minaj figured out with this album and I’m loving her.”
Speaking of the creative freedom from her mixtape days, it seems as though fans should expect the return of the hard-hitting rapper. These expectations hold up considering the sonic direction of “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz.” According to TMZ, what we can expect is hit after hit. In February an anonymous source told them to expect “fire.”
“Barbie Tingz” & “Chun-Li”:
After months of silence, Nicki officially kicked off her album campaign with a double release. The icon rolled out brag-heavy singles “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz.” They signify her first solo releases since 2015’s “The Night Is Still Young.” Of the two, the former has become something of a breakout hit. The track peaked at the number 10 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first solo top 10 since “Anaconda” in 2014. In comparison, “Barbie Tingz” clocked in at the still respectable number 25 position. Both have since received videos and should find additional love on the charts in the coming months.
Queen is shaping up to be one of the most secretive albums of 2018. Although the release date is less than a month away, fans have yet to see an official tracklist. Even more surprising, there have not been many leaks at this point. However, Nicki is keeping her Barbz on the line with a handful of short teasers from the studio. Last month, she uploaded a few seconds of a song people believe to be called “Everything.” Another hard-hitting snippet of the alleged title track was uploaded earlier this month. Rumor has it that we will hear a new song when the hitmaker appears on Saturday Night Live on May 19.
Having lent her voice to countless songs over the years, it is impossible to predict who will pop up on a track when Queen drops. The hitmaker has too many famous friends and is owed too many favors, but there are some obvious choices. It is a safe bet that Young Money label-mates Lil Wayne and Drake will make an appearance on the tracklist. They have each contributed at least one song to all of Nicki’s albums since Pink Friday in 2010. Notably, their contributions to The Pinkprint, “Only” and “Truffle Butter,” were some of the most successful. Both just missed out on the top 10 of the Hot 100. The trio last united on “No Frauds,” and it is time for a reunion.
Speculation is also high that the “Starships” hitmaker will hit the studio with Cardi B. The pair’s combined might helped Migos net a top 10 single with “MotorSport” in 2017. Though they have since been engaged in a rumored feud over the track’s video, the ladies appear to have moved on at the Met Gala. It would be welcome to see the biggest names in female rap getting together.
Other potential collaborators include the likes of Madonna, Ariana Grande and Zayn Malik. During a joint interview with the Queen of Pop at the Met, Nicki confirmed they have a “secret” that is “coming soon.” The twosome generally appear on Madge’s albums (they were last seen together on “Bitch I’m Madonna” in 2015), but anything is possible. An Ari collab seems even more likely after the Sweetener diva posted a video from the studio and tagged her “Side To Side” collaborator in it. It has been heavily rumored that Nicki has been tapped to contribute a verse to Zayn’s forthcoming sophomore album. And it is the gentlemanly thing to do to return the favor, right?
What better way to celebrate an album release than with a world tour. On April 22, Nicki took to Twitter to confirm plans to travel the globe. “US first. Then ALL AROUND THE WORLD. BUT THERE’S another surprise you won’t know,” she teased. Brazil received a personal shout-out from the rap goddess. “Yes, BRAZIL. I promised you.” Keep eyes peeled for dates and info about pre-sale and a potential meet and greet opportunity.