Nicki Minaj

The Evolution of Nicki Minaj: From ‘Pink Friday’ to ‘Pink Friday 2’


Dec. 25 2023, Published 2:33 p.m. ET

Onika Tanya Maraj’s career has been a whirlwind.

Starting from a collaboration on several mixtapes with rapper Lil Wayne to a duet with Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and then Rihanna. Then, albums upon albums!

She was non-stop until a recent five-year hiatus. Luckily, she’s back and better than ever with “Pink Friday 2!”

Now, let’s rewind things. How far has the Queen of Rap grown and changed her musical styles from her first studio album to her most recent release?

“Pink Friday”: A Hip-Hop Electro Revolution

The rapper’s first studio album, “Pink Friday,” was released on November 22, 2010, and featured hit singles such as “Super Bass,” and “Your Love.”

The album immediately propelled Nicki Minaj to the forefront of the hip-hop scene. As of 2018, the album is certified triple platinum and has sold over 3 million copies. Nicki was also nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2012 Grammys for Pink Friday (she lost to Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”).

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“Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded”

Nicki dropped her second studio album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” on April 2, 2012, under record labels Cash Money, Universal Republic, and Young Money. It was an instant hit and debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart. Its lead single was “Starships” but also included hits such as “Beez in the Trap” and “Pound the Alarm.”

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“The Pinkprint”: Bars & Bangers

Nicki released “The Pinkprint,” her third studio album, on December 15, 2014. It focuses on rap and has singles like “Pills N Potions,” “Anaconda,” “Only,” “Bed of Lies,” “Feeling Myself,” “Truffle Butter,” and “The Night Is Still Young.”

With “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” and “The Pinkprint,” sales were good for Nicki and the team. Everything was going well for the rapper… at least until 2015.

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“Queen”: Triumphs and Trials

Despite a resounding start to her career, Nicki did not release an album between 2015 and 2018 — only singles and features.

In 2017, rapper Cardi B caused a tidal wave with her single “Bodak Yellow.” Many quickly considered her “the one who will dethrone Nicki Minaj.” And the numbers seemed to prove them right. In 2018, Nicki Minaj released Queen, a hip-hop album, trying to defend her reign as queen in the industry — but it did not perform as well as her first three albums.

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Instead, Cardi B released her debut album, and “Invasion of Privacy” climbed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019.

Cardi even got the “Best Rap Album of the Year” Grammy Award before Nicki. Many did not fail to remind Nicki she had no Grammy to her credit.

In addition to Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat got into the rap scene and had one hit after another.

At the end of 2019, the rapper, who was then pregnant with her first child, announced the end of her career. Luckily for her fans, the artist quickly retracted the statement.

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“Pink Friday 2”: The Return of the Queen

Nicki Minaj returned with a fight in 2023. She closed the year in style by releasing her fifth album on December 8.

The year has been like a rebirth for her. The song “Red Ruby Da Sleeze” went to No. 13 on the Hot 100 Billboard from its beginnings. The album is now the most charting female rap album with 17 songs.

With” Pink Friday 2,” Onika returns to her fundamentals. There are soft pieces like “Last Time I Saw You,” but also more spicy songs like “Big Difference,” where she sends a message to all the other rappers: the only queen of rap... is her.

It’s no surprise that Nicki ranked “Pink Friday 2” as her best album, tweeting, “Ok here’s my honest ranking 1. Pink Friday 2 2. The Pinkprint 3. QUEEN 4. Pink Friday 5. Pink Friday Roman Reloaded (The Re-Up). She went on to add, “But I truly respect all gag city resident opinions. What the albums mean to you is your own truth based on where you were in your own life.”

The competition is on notice: Queen Nicki is back, for real and for good!

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