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There is no question about Nicki Minaj's place in hip hop history. To dive into her skill as an emcee across the board is redundant in 2019, but is certainly always worth a revisit when analyzing the Queens-bred superstar's catalog.
This year marks a time where headlines attached to the star -- while music-related -- are certainly overshadowing her works in the booth. But, when you've spent over 10 years perfecting a craft, you surely have some leeway in satiating the market with more trivial matters.
Any dissection of her discography is never really an easy task, especially when considering a decade's worth of raps. Nonetheless, we've taken a look at Nicki's revolutionary catalog, while skimming through her routine genre-blending efforts, and manic outings to decide her most memorable verses equipped with their fair share of lyrical complexities and pure regard for skill. Check out nine of them below and let us know what your favorites from her epic career are!
"Forget Barbie, fuck Nicki 'cause she's fake/She on a diet, but my pockets eating cheesecake."
It goes without saying that Nicki Minaj took over Kanye West's "Monster" track. It goes down as one of Onika's best verses to date and among one of the most memorable of the time. Here Nicki officially situated herself in a sweet spot that highlights an undeniable skill of penmanship and an ability to deliver lyrical whirlwinds that anyone could appreciate -- purist or not. Ye himself even declared it to be the "best verse on the best hip hop album [of] all time."
"She ain't eatin', but I swear she got some bum ass taste/ Text her man like, 'Dawg, how that bum ass taste?'"
This "Make Love" verse arrived in the mix of Nicki and Remy Ma's boiling feud in 2017 and she used the platform as a chance to get a few things off her chest. For the most part, Nicki is throwing shots, flipping well-informed punchlines that any fan on neither side of the battle should appreciate. It was a quieted, yet forceful aim at Remy's neck at the time and would spark the infamous "ShETHER" response two days later.
"Bitches don't know the half, like they flunk they math/ Bitches ain't have cut up crack up in the stash/ 50 Cent Italian, icy flow/ This is that Run-and-Get-a-Dollar-for-The-Ice-Cream-Cone."
Nestled on Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, "Champion" gets its flowers for being one of the effort's most powerful tracks, stripping a then-buzzing Minaj of the Roman figure. Essentially sparring with featured guests Nas, Drake and Young Jeezy, Nicki had no choice but to cut the gimmicks to remind listeners of her skill.
"These birds copy every word, every inch/ But gang gang got the hammer and the wrench (Brrr)/ I pull up in that quarter milli off the lot."
Arriving as one of two new tracks that Nicki debuted last year to commence the rollout of her Queen album, "Chun-Li" found her perched atop a minimal beat to mark her official return. Per usual, the track is colored with aggression and finds the rapper attacking the proverbial competition: "You play checkers, couldn't beat me playin' chess/Now I'm about to turn around and beat my chest," she spits. Perhaps more interesting than the actual delivery is the history that precedes the track, as Nicki revealed that she completed the song just a day before it dropped, crafting its melodies within five minutes.
"He pressing me like button-downs on a Friday night/ I'm so pretty like, be on my pedal bike/ Be on my low starch, be on my egg whites."
When discussing Nicki Minaj's most memorable appearances, Young money's "Bed Rock" posse cut goes sadly untouched for the most part. The track was essentially the star's introduction to the mainstream with her verse serving as the first coming of "Monster." It was something of a sticky interlude that gave female listeners something to work on memorizing and certainly marks a considerable milestone for the superstar we have today.
"Trini Dem Girls"
"Yo, he in love with a ghetto girl/ He said he want a piece like Metta World/ Pat, pat on the kitty cat/ He don't mess with them…regulars."
"Trini Dem Girls" serves as one of the best displays of Nicki's vacillation between talent-laden bars and nonsensical rhymes. It's a satisfying nod to her heritage, and effectively underscored her assertion to appeal to global audiences at all costs, as she flips Caribbean dances into punchlines, and sexual references into clever puns.
"Tom-Toms like in Lebanon, hotter than in Pakistan/ Click click click, Young Nick', the atomic bomb."
When it got here, Nicki's "Massive Attack" was the emcee's first official commercial single, tapping into the talents of Sean Garrett -- who was particularly in his prime at the time -- to effectively introducing the rapper to the rest of the world. The song ultimately flopped at the time, but serves of a memorable offering, as it marked the first major deviation in Nicki's persona up until that point. Her delivery was particularly eclectic and laid the foundation for an alter ego that would receive mounts of refinement before reaching the perfected persona we see today.
"I'm a Republican voting for Mitt Romney/ You lazy bitches is fucking up the economy/ Out in Miami I be chilling with a zombie/ Diablo Alejandro dimelo Gandhi."
As was the norm for Nicki during the era, she hopped on Lil Wayne's Dedication 4 and delivered what is arguably one of the more memorable verses presented on the effort. With her featured spot, the emcee managed to enrobe herself in a small degree of politics, fanning flames when she elaborately dished out a metaphor while calling out the fact that she made more than the average American.
"Did It On Em"
"All these bitches is my sons (my sons)/ And I'mma go and get some bibs for 'em/ A couple formulas, little pretty lids on 'em."
"Did it On Em" marks another early standout from Nicki in which she swapped out an overzealous flow for a plain and simple one, as a reminder that she packs a heavy pen game no matter what beat she's on. The beauty of this track was that it memorably marked the beginning of Nick's "sons" insult, and proved just how confined a younger Nicki was in her early stake in the game, while not shying away from claiming the throne. Such a level of comfort in essentially challenging every female -- and male -- rapper in the game at that point seems like much more of a telling sign in hindsight and issued the nascence of one of rap's most notable reigns.
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