In late 2013, Minaj planted The Pinkprint seed, telling New York radio station Power 105 that she had her eyes set on new music. "I've already started...2014 definitely! It's very different from anything I've done, which I'm surprised about. I'm not feeling like I did this. I feel like this is next level." She went on the record with MTV at the same time, promising new sounds.
February rolled around and Minaj dropped "Lookin Ass N***a" out of the blue, feasibly her first track from the highly anticipated, and at the time, slightly differently titled album. (It was Pinkprint without 'The' preceding it.) The ferocious track, which recalled Hotstylz' smack-talking one-hit wonder "Lookin Boy," was featured on the Young Money compilation Rise of an Empire. Meanwhile, the single's artwork sparked controversy for incorporating a famous photo of civil rights icon Malcolm X holding a gun. The artwork prompted protests and complaints from Malcom X's family.
Later that month Minaj went on Hot 97 with Angie Martinez, telling the host that The Pinkprint wasn't "gonna have a release date," adding "You'll never know when it's coming until it just comes." Was the star planning to pull a Beyoncé?
Then came the promo tour, where she shared more info with DJ Drama on his Shade 45 radio show, declaring the record "a classic album" and concluding with: "That's all I can think about right now. I'm just working on the album. Nothing else is really gonna take precedence over that."
That spring Minaj dropped "Chi-Raq" featuring Lil Herb. The track is a direct response to the “Lookin Ass N***a” controversy. Minaj spits lines like, “Malcom X’s daughter came at me / Look ass n***a ain’t happy.” It’s at this time that the rapper shared a tentative Pinkprint release window—November—concluding the song with the spoken word bit, “I always got a trick up my sleeve. I may give you a new track every week ‘til this album drop. I dunno. I figure they want some more. I may give you some more.”
After “Chi-Raq,” Minaj started dropping tracks at a rapid clip. The next to arrive was “Yasss Bish!!” featuring Souja Boy, where she launches into some controversial lyrics: “And I am still/poppin' them pills/I don't give a f*ck how you bitches feel.”
The next track was “Pills N Potions,” a slowed-down Dr. Luke-produced jam. In it, Her Minajesty returns with a song that moves between reflective lyrics and a subtle, piano-led beat. She croons, “I spin off in a Benzie / I see the envy when I'm causin' a frenzy" and rises above haters who "looking so ungrateful / I'mma keep it movin' / Be classy and graceful."
In August, Minaj dropped “Anaconda,” the sexy single that would define her new style. The song samples Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” and caught everyone’s attention with the scintillating video—Minaj has taken back shaking that ass, twerking, the whole shebang. It quickly set a Vevo record for most views in 24 hours, with 19.6 million plays.
In a recent interview with DJ Semtek for BBC1's Xtra, Minaj revealed a few more Pinkprint details, comparing the album to her previous releases...and a Jay Z classic. "Jay [Z] has had his Blueprint albums, and that’s what I feel like this album’s gonna be,” she said. “I really feel like this album will be like a Blueprint for FEMALE rappers to come...I think the second album lacked a little bit of focus. I think the first album was very focused and very raw and just very real, and I think the third album is back to just being raw and real. I’m addressing things that I’ve never addressed before on the third album.”
Nicki premiered a bit of new track "Bed of Lies" with Skylar Grey at the 2014 MTV European Music Awards (which she also hosted) on November 9. The full version soon followed and the duo performed the track at the 2014 American Music Awards (below).
On December 10 Minaj dropped "Big Daddy," featuring Meek Mill on Philadelphia station Power 99. The tune came as a total surprise. Listen here!
With less than a week until the record drops, the album opener "All Things Go" surfaced. Nicki talks about an abortion she had at 16, about her hopes to have a daughter in the next few years, about wanting her younger brother to go to college, and how she "lost my little cousin to a senseless act of violence." Listen right here.
On December 1, Nicki Minaj revealed the robust, star-studded tracklist to The Pinkprint on Instagram. It boasts 19 tracks, plus superstar features from the likes of Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Meek Mill and others. Here's the full tracklist:
1. All Things Go
2. I Lied
3. The Crying Game
4. Get on Your Knees ft. Ariana Grande
5. Feeling Myself ft. Beyonce
6. Only ft. Drake, Lil Wayne & Chris Brown
7. Want Some More
8. Four Door Aventador
9. Favorite ft. Jeremih
10. Buy a Heart ft. Meek Mill
11. Trini Dem Girls ft. Lunchmoney Lewis
13. The Night Is Still Young
14. Pills and Potions
15. Bed of Lies ft. Skylar Grey
16. Grand Piano
17. Big Daddy ft. Meek Mill
19. Win Again
Stay tuned to Fuse for up-to-date info on Nicki Minaj’s upcoming release!