In the hall of anticipated albums this year lives Nicki Minaj and Queen, her long-awaited fourth studio LP. She is set to release the album on August 10.
Since the release of 2014's The Pinkprint, Nicki Minaj has been discreet on the details behind the follow-up, but offered tidbits here and there in several interviews. Talking to T Magazine last year, she revealed, "I know what the album's about to sound like" and that it's "everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy." Even with the details closely guarded, the hype surrounding Queen is contagious. After last year's false start, Nicki picked up her biggest single in years with "Chun-Li," which gave the rapstress her 16th Hot 100 top 10 and extended her record for the most among female rappers. She has guest starred on five notable records this year, including "Poke It Out" with Playboi Carti, "Violent Crimes" by Kanye West (by way of a phone-in snippet), and YG's "Big Bank." Earlier this week, Minaj also revealed the album cover for Queen.
So as she continues to control the attention surrounding Queen, here's everything we know about the anticipated new album.
When Nicki dropped her "three pack from Paris" earlier last year, which included the song "No Frauds" featuring Drake and Lil Wayne, producers for the records included Boi-1da, Allen Ritter, Frank Dukes, Murda Beatz, Cubeatz, Detail and Sidney Swift. There is a good chance that these hitmakers will provide further assistance throughout the album. Back in May, Nicki was also spotted in the studio with LondonOnDaTrack. In an interview with Billboard, the producer revealed the two have "a lot coming." The first product of this collaboration was "No Flag." Mike WiLL Made It has also hinted at some "fire" in the bag, and that alone is great, considering the fact that their past two collaborations quickly hit the charts ("Black Barbies," "Rake It Up"). Longtime producers Kane Beatz and JMIKE are also in the mix.
As we've learned from her past three albums, fans should expect the unexpected when it comes to Nicki Minaj's guest features. The list reads like a hall of fame. Beyoncé, Kanye West, Rihanna, Drake, Lil Wayne, Nas, and Eminem have all appeared on her previous albums. With her upcoming set, the rapper has teased studio sessions with Quavo, Wizkid, and the Young Money family. The only potential guest features that she has spoken on, however, is one with Young Thug ("I was so blown away by his artistry" she told Dazed), another with Trina, a "surprise" with Madonna, and maybe Eminem.
In addition to promising the NM4 era to be "a billion times more epic" than her previous, Nicki has revealed some big goals for the next LP. "I have to release a classic at this point," she told Dazed. In an interview with DJ Whoo Kid last year, the rapper assured the album would be a "classic hip-hop album that people will never forget."
She added, "I know it's going to be my best body of work and I always love to be in real time, see my fans reacting to something. That's what I'm looking forward to now. Obviously, I'm not telling them when my album is coming out, but I know that it's gonna be amazing because I want to thank the people who've rocked with me for all of these years."
In her talk with T Magazine's Greats issue, Minaj offered even more insight, stating, "The last album, The Pinkprint, 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," she recalled. "Now, I can tell you guys what happened for the last two years of my life. I know who I am."
For her fourth album, Nicki Minaj finds herself at her most powerful yet vulnerable position. She's already a 10-year veteran in the rap game, amassed shitload of platinum-selling releases, and built an empire that altogether deserves a proper documentary in the foreseeable future. But where theres's success, there's adversity.
As she dominated last year with her highest productivity in years, which has since spilled into 2018, Nicki's crown has been a bit shaky. For starters, there was the rift with Remy Ma that put a dent in her armor, and then it was the much publicized rise of Cardi B. These chapters poked some holes in her once mighty veil. This adversity gave her a new mountain to climb, one that even her Young Money co-conspirator Drake , is experiencing. As JAY-Z once said, "Most kings get their heads cut off." And while she's done it all throughout her 10-year career, there is still more for her to prove in 2018 to not only crystalize her spot, but also prove that she is undisputed in the hall of greats. All of this explains why, as she stated last year, her goal for Queen is to "release a classic at this point." So as her loyal #Kingdom awaits and the arrival of Queen draws near, Nicki is tasked with turning pressure into diamonds. With delivering a classic on her brain, she may soon deliver.