On November 19, 2010, one of the decade’s most undeniable music personalities made its full-length debut. Pink Friday, the first Nicki Minaj album, made good on the promise of her mixtapes and guest verses by revealing a wholly original hip hop artist spread across an engaging collection of pop, rap and R&B tracks. Nicki has released two more albums since Pink Friday, but her debut will always have a special place in the canon of popular modern music.
New to Nicki’s older stuff, and looking for a way in? Or maybe you just want to celebrate Pink Friday on this special Thursday! Check out our picks of the five essential tracks from the deluxe edition of Nicki Minaj’s debut LP.
Nicki gets gloriously grimy over a classic Bangladesh beat, fully displaying the fangs she referenced on Kanye West’s “Monster.” By declaring, “If I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on ‘em,” Nicki delivered a reminder that pummeling rap takedowns have no gender.
There are sweet moments throughout Pink Friday, but “Moment 4 Life” most effectively combines Nicki’s sugary impulses with her lyrical bravado. Drake’s verse sounds a little more obligatory than essential, but this is Nicki’s show, and her opening verse knocks hard when it crosses over to double-time.
“See, you told me I would lose, but I won,” Nicki goes on the first verse on the first track on her first album. This is an engrossing origin story, in which defiantly separates herself from her mixtape warm-up and lets the real game begin. Nicki wasn’t the absolute best at this point, but her confidence and dazzling skill hinted that she was on her way.