Nicki Minaj's 3rd full-length album isn't complete of the tough rap she promised, but offers one intimate advent to the woman behind the work.

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If there"s any kind of disappointment this day in The Pinkprint, Nicki Minaj"s just-released 3rd solo album, you have the right to blame Minaj it s her for creating false expectations. Because her last effort, Pink Friday: roman inn Reloaded, she make clear that she was going to emphasis on difficult rap ~ above this record. "I"m choosing to get back to mine essence and also feed the core hip-hop fan," she told hot 97 in may of last year.

Now, v that in mind, listen to "Grand Piano," the last non-bonus monitor on the album. You"ll discover no rapping—no hip-hop, even! It"s a piano ballad, and quite a beloved one at that. But the reason it doesn"t feel odd as component of the record is since this isn"t a hardcore hip-hop record. It"s also not a pure popular music record. This is a wig-free confessional statement, sans bizarre transform egos with weird accents. (Farewell, roman inn Zolanski! we won"t miss you.) This is an advent not to Nicki Minaj, however to the mrs behind the work, Onika Maraj.

Minaj and also co. Have never to be the ideal at picking singles; these room the folks who attempted come launch Minaj"s pop career with songs prefer "Your Love" and "Right Thru Me," while "Super Bass" laid dormant among Pink Friday"s bonus tracks, simply waiting because that Taylor Swift come come conserve it. So it"s no wonder the pre-release singles for The Pinkprint haven"t stood for the album well. "Pills N Potions" is a little bit maudlin because that a command single; "Anaconda" seemed prefer a blatant attempt to re-create "Super Bass"/"Starships" magic. Others were just plain boring, like Skylar Grey collab "Bed of Lies." yet most of all, placed them with each other (along v tracks choose Drake/Lil Wayne/Chris Brown team-up "Only" and also the "Flawless (Remix)" follow-up "Feelin" Myself" with Beyoncé), and the concern becomes: What in the world is this album?

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It"s a pleasant surprise, then, that in the paper definition of the record, every these songs make feeling as the different stages that heartbreak, indigenous post-breakup sex ("Anaconda") to the an ext insular moment ("Pills N Potions"). Many of this is thanks to album opener "All points Go," which sets the stage for a deep confessional 16 songs (22 through bonus tracks). The track goes to some dark places: the death of her cousin in 2011, she abortion together a teenager, a proposal she didn"t seem ready to completely accept ("Just yesterday, i swear it to be "06 / Ten year ago, that"s when you proposed / ns looked down, "yes, i suppose""). It likewise talks about popping pills—a dark layout in various other songs like "Pills N Potions" and "Bed that Lies" that never quite it s okay resolved. Much of it is brutal come hear, particularly from a mrs who"s really never ever made talking around her an individual life component of she career.

Go earlier to "Grand Piano" because that a 2nd and listen to the first few lines: "Am I simply a fool? / Blind and also stupid because that loving you / to be I just a silly girl?" It"s no the only time Minaj refers to herself as a young girl or woman on The Pinkprint, and also considering her previous bright-and-candy-colored public image, it"s simple to think the Minaj want to come off together childish not lengthy ago. But Onika Maraj, a 32-year-old woman, has lived. This album is she sharing that life v us.

As a personal statement, The Pinkprint functions effectively. As an album ... It has some issues. There are absolutely highlights: The Beyonce-featuring "Feelin" Myself" is a delightfully cocky boast for both queens. The two Meek Mill collaborations—"Fat Daddy" and also "Buy a Heart"—practically bounce with the listener, they"re for this reason energetic. Top top "Shanghai," Minaj boasts her rap credentials while insisting that yes, she can also sing a tune or two, end a killer production by Chinza//Fly and also Minaj herself. And Jessie Ware, who can currently claim one of the many beautiful popular music vocal performances of the year, adds a gorgeous chorus to the superb "The Crying Game."

Onika Maraj has actually lived. This album is her sharing the life through us.

But there room cuts that just don"t work. "Truffle Butter," which is grounding in bonus-track hell, is a far far better Drake/Wayne collab than the confusing "Only." Minaj"s 2nd collab with the spiritually tweenage Ariana Grande is a reasonably icky ode to receiving dental sex, and pales in comparison come Grande"s Minaj-featuring solitary "Bang Bang." "Anaconda" may make much more sense in the context of the record, yet it"s still a noisy mess. And also though the whole middle the the album varieties from great to very good ("Trini Dem Girls" will certainly be in every happy dance society this weekend, if not before), the songs have tendency to blend together a bit. Minaj could have used one more pass at editing the point down; the deluxe 22-track length takes it away from being a tight, cohesive statement and lets that wander a bit.

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But really, who cares if Minaj wanders? It might not do for the ideal album, but it renders for the best Minaj. Native the beginning, she"s been around subversion—and, in fact, she"s been most frustrating at her most commercial. For this reason while annoyances at the truth that The Pinkprint isn"t the tough rap album the was meant is understandable, in truth, zagging when civilization expected her to zig is true to the Minaj mission. It"s precious celebrating the fact that the public obtained such an impressively an individual record from Minaj—or, rather, indigenous Maraj.