Nicki Minaj: Barbie’s Back
Before signing with Young Money Entertainment, Queens-bred rapper Nicki Minaj cut her teeth on the New York-mixtape circuit with a handful of mixes. Now Minaj is featured on virtually every urban pop tune on radio; and yet this supposedly “bootleg” mixtape Barbie’s Back, which include rare, unreleased tracks—is actually pretty dope.
Of course, Nicki Minaj wouldn’t be Nicki Minaj without the theatrics and multiple personalities, but on Barbie’s Back we hear the street-style rhymes, the Queens-bred rapper, the explicit shit yo. Though the rapper does stand out on typical fanfare to include Drake mixes (“Up All Night” and “Best I Ever Had”), Mariah Carey track (“Up Out My Face”) and Lil Wayne collaborations (“I Get Dat” and “Sunshine”); Minaj is actually a much stronger and realer performer on solo appearances like “Itty Bitty Piggy,” “Dirty Dub,” and “N*ggas.” She seems more in her element alone than with others. Maybe (hopefully) in the future we’ll see more of this side of the rapper, but in the meantime–Minaj definitely has the urban-pop success formula on lock. Barbie’s Back is available online.