Top 10 Nicki Minaj Songs
No one can deny that Nicki Minaj is a trendsetter. There aren't many emcees coming out of Jamaica, Queens, with a cockneyed British accent. There've been even less donning a colored wig for every personality change. Not only is she dedicated to shock value -- obvious in her inclination to experiment -- but she's always been able to rap. If anything, Young Money's First Lady has made hip-hop more interesting than many fans want to admit. She's literally taken her bars from grimy New York staircases to the beaches of Malibu.
The 'Pink Friday' creator dropped her first mixtape backed by Young Money in 2009 -- its release marked the calm before the storm. Since then, Minaj has been caught in a whirlwind of hit singles, arena tours, commendable features and perfume releases. With two solo albums and a re-release under her belt, she's proving to be an unstoppable force. In honor of Nicki Minaj's career climb, TheDrop.fm showcases the top Nicki Minaj songs that helped her rise to the top.
By the time Nicki Minaj dropped her 'Beam Me Up Scotty' mixtape in April 2009, the rapper was moving towards the image she's known for today -- inventive personas expressed through straight lyricism. The tape, released under the Young Money imprint, featured Minaj in all her glory. This Ron Browz-produced street single was the perfect track to introduce the emcee to the masses. She dominated the energetic beat, switching voices and tones on cue and of course a guest verse from Wayne only helped her. In her signature breathless flow, she boasts of her intergalactic inspiration: "I got a bad bitch mentality 'cause I just came from another galaxy."
Nicki made the switch to eccentricity a while before the release of her debut LP, 'Pink Friday,' but somehow people still found themselves confused by her vibe. When she recorded the title track for 'Beam Me Up Scotty,' she defined herself very clearly: "They say, 'Who is Nicki Minaj? You know, I'm like a multi-personality bitch. Like, you know, I'm a ninja. I'm the boss'. I'm... I'm the Harajuku Barbie." Nodding to her Trinidadian roots, the song samples 'Kill the Bitch' by dancehall artist Sasha. The head Barb showcases some skillful one-liners in patois over the spacey production.
The lead single from Minaj's 'Pink Friday' debut dropped in June 2010, and seemed to be the perfect start to her blooming career. 'Your Love' was sugary sweet with the rapper waxing poetic about romance -- the video showed her fancying a samurai. The track was indicative of the rapper's extensive creativity, but it polarized her fan base. Newer fans loved the track while her longtime fans weren't sure of the storyline, and the interpolation of 'No More I Love You's' by Annie Lennox made it all even more saccharine.
Despite its commercial success, 'Your Love' left a bad taste in the mouths of Nicki Minaj fans. It seemed she jumped the hip-hop ship in favor of pop. As a result, she was careful to choose 'Roman's Revenge' as her next single. The bold move made doubters pay attention and if Minaj didn't pull them on her own strength, then the inclusion of Eminem surely did. "I'm into S&M but my whip's off the chain / A little drop of candy paint drips off the frame / Twisted ass mind / Got a pretzel for a brain / An eraser for a head / F---in' pencil for a frame," Slim Shady raps.
By December 2010, the Young Money/Cash Money clique undeniably became the next crew in hip-hop to watch. On 'Moment 4 Life,' the Queens emcee revels in the moment. She boasts about calling the shots and being the king, all while feeling blessed. She does all this with her YMCMB brother Drake, who rides the T-Minus produced track to perfection. "I swear, damn, this one's for the books / Man, I swear this s--- is as fun as it looks / Man, I'm really tryna make this more than what it is / 'Cause everybody dies but not everybody lives," Drizzy rhymes.
The wig-wearing emcee moves between sub-genres as if boundaries only exist for everyone else. It's literally nothing for her to go from pop to R&B then to straight up rap. She made yet another switch with the release of her fourth single, the Bangladesh-produced 'Did It on 'Em.' The track seemed to go hard at Lil' Kim, who made it known to everyone that she wasn't a Nicki Minaj fan. Here, Nicki strikes back, subliminally, of course. "Let me shake it off / Just signed a couple deals / I might break you off / And we ain't making up / I don't need a mediator /Just let those bums blow steam / Radiator," she raps.
Once 'Super Bass' debuted, Minaj was a certified star. Most of her fans had made peace with her multiple voices, personalities and stylistic changes; others simply resigned to waiting for her straight hip-hop tracks. Songs like this toed the line, pulling people in from both sides. It had the dance-inspired appeal of today's pop music but the rhymer was still aggressively rapping, speaking on a random cutie who caught her eye. "He a motherf---in' trip, trip / Sailor of the ship, ship / Money make it drip, drip / Kiss him on the lip, lip / That's the kinda dude I was looking fo' / And yes, you'll get slapped if you looking h--," Minaj rhymes.
This lead single off her sophomore LP only signified that the rapper is nowhere near done pushing the envelope as an artist. 'Starships' was quite a reach though, even as an experimental emcee. The track was signature Euro-pop, EDM music and rap fans grew more irritated with the fact that Nicki seemed unable to pick a lane and stick with it. Nevertheless, the track was a global smash, topping charts in more than 25 countries. Back at home in the U.S., the song ended up at the core of a huge spat between YMCMB and New York radio station Hot 97 in summer 2012.
The first lady of Young Money is big on star power and recruiting others from that fold to collaborate with. On 'Beez in the Trap,' she gets the omnipresent 2 Chainz to bring up the rear over the minimal production done by beatmaker Kenoe. The premise seems to be based on providing an ode to strippers but no one seems to know exactly what the two are bantering about on the song. Regardless, there's no argument that it's fun to bounce to.
Nicki Minaj is unapologetic about adding Euro-pop into her music catalog. Here, she douses this EDM-influenced track with poppy exuberance and light-hearted raps. The electro-based 'Pound the Alarm,' the fourth single from 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,' quickly shot up the Billboard charts upon its release in July 2012. This accomplishment, which only added to her growing list of accolades, further proved Minaj knows what it takes to be a global success in the face of apprehensive critiques.