Pink Friday is the debut studio album by Trinidadian-born American rapper Nicki Minaj. It was released on November 22, 2010, by Young Money, Cash Money and Universal Motown. After signing a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment in 2009, Minaj began planning the album that same year and work continued into 2010. Minaj enlisted a variety of producers whose efforts resulted in a primarily hip hop record, which sees additional influences from R&B and pop music. The album features guest vocals from Eminem, Rihanna, Drake, will.i.am, Kanye West and Natasha Bedingfield.
|Studio album by Nicki Minaj|
|Released||November 22, 2010|
|Nicki Minaj chronology|
|Singles from Pink Friday|
The album was promoted with eight singles, including the internationally successful single "Super Bass", and US Billboard Hot 100 top 40 singles "Your Love", "Check It Out", "Right Thru Me", "Moment 4 Life", and "Fly". Minaj also supported the album with a five-date promotional concert tour during October 2010.
After a much anticipated release as the result of Minaj's extensive featured appearances on the singles of other artists, Pink Friday debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 375,000 copies in its first week. It ultimately reached number one and spent 73 consecutive weeks on the chart. As of February 2018, the album has sold two million copies in the United States. The album also charted within the top 20 in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Pink Friday was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012, alongside Minaj's other nominations for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance for the single "Moment 4 Life".
After a major record label bidding war, Young Money Entertainment announced on August 31, 2009 that Minaj had been released from a 360 deal with the label in which she retains and owns all of her 360 rights – including merchandising, sponsorships, endorsements, touring and publishing. Sessions for the album began in 2009 with a tentative release set for the second quarter of 2010. Minaj stated in an MTV interview that "Married in the Club" was set to be the lead single from the album and was slated for a November 2009 release. Plans for the single were cancelled and Minaj explained in a February 2010 interview with MTV that she had scrapped the previous material and began recording again from scratch. Minaj explained, "I have songs that where I am now, they aren't a great representation of me to where I'm at musically. I wanna start from scratch but I do have my single and it'll be out."
Nicki Minaj spoke about the great importance of the album to her and all females in hip-hop in an interview with V103's Greg Street, stating; "They won't look to sign other female rappers because they'll say, 'Her buzz was so crazy and if she couldn't do it, then no one can do it.' And I don't want that to happen, so I'm doing this as well for all the girls. I hope that with the success of the album—because I know it will be successful, I believe it will be successful—I hope that this opens doors for all of the girls everywhere. Even as far as I've come right now, it's a testament in my mind," she said. "So I hope the female rappers will understand how big it is, just for our culture, that the album does well."
Recording and productionEdit
Recording sessions for the album took place at several recording locations, including 25 Sound Studios in Detroit, Chalice Recording Studios in Los Angeles, and Glenwood Place Studios in Burbank, California. Hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz confirmed his collaboration with Minaj for the album, with Minaj discussing a song "Catch Me", that she described as "moody" and "mellow futuristic" which later became a bonus track on the album. Minaj also confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that The Black Eyed Peas member and record producer will.i.am contributed production to the album. She stated in the interview that: "The album is much more emotional than you anticipate, which is a great thing. And I know women are gonna connect to the album so much. I felt like for so many years I was the girl who did the catchy little raps, and it's time for me now to tell my story, and in telling my story, I'm really telling every girl's story. We all go through the same thing. So the album is gonna feel very personal to every female." Hip-hop artist and producer Kanye West was also confirmed for the album. Producer Bangladesh also contributed to the album.
In an interview with Interview Minaj stated that she would be toning down her sex appeal for the album, stating: "I made a conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness, I want people—especially young girls—to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You've got to have something else to go with that." The song "Right Thru Me", which Minaj described as a "standout" track of the album, was confirmed for the album with Minaj stating, "It's not gonna come right now. It'll come closer to when the album drops, but it's a really, really pretty song. Everyone's gonna like it. It's just really insightful but in a very conversational kind of way." In an interview with 95.8 Capital FM, Barbadian recording artist Rihanna stated that after the two collaborated on "Raining Men" from her album Loud, that they would be teaming up together for a possible second collaboration on Minaj's Pink Friday album. On an unexpected Ustream on October 25, 2010, Minaj discussed a song she had recently recorded with fellow label-mate Drake, which later ended up on the album and became a single. Minaj revealed exclusively to Rap-Up that she collaborated with rapper Eminem on a Swizz Beatz-produced track titled "Roman's Revenge" which references Minaj's alter-ego Roman Zolanski and features Eminem's alter-ego Slim Shady.
Music and lyricsEdit
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"Your Love" is a mid-tempo hip-hop, pop, and R&B song, with an auto-tuned chorus. It samples the instrumentals and background vocals of Annie Lennox's cover version of "No More I Love You's" by The Lover Speaks, with the addition of additional bass, drum-loops and hip-hop backbeats. "Roman's Revenge" features American rapper Eminem; the song includes both rappers exchanging bars over a "spastic beat" produced by Swizz Beatz. Lyrically, "Roman's Revenge" has been described as "unrelenting", "bonkers", "angry" and "outrageous". "Did It On'em" is a hardcore hip hop and post-dubstep song that has instrumentally been described as having a massive, ungainly beat. The lyrics speak of Minaj winning over her competition, by saying she "shitted on 'em" or "pissed on 'em."
"Right Thru Me" is styled with pop-rap tones, and has an electronic beat, while being influenced by R&B. Lyrically, the song describes someone who wonders aloud about how a lover can see the real her. Lyrically, "Moment 4 Life", is about a desire to maintain a feeling of accomplishment, as Drake follows behind Minaj and raps the same theme of enjoying the moment. Straying away from the standard rap song construction of three verses and a hook, Nicki performs a brain-dump of sorts on the track, spitting as if she’s making a speech to both her fans and detractors. "Check It Out" features the nearly constant repetition of the piano and vocal hook from The Buggles 1979 classic, "Video Killed the Radio Star", which is famous for being the first video ever played on MTV. "Super Bass" utilizes electronic music and pop in its composition, while Minaj raps over a hip hop beat, Minaj explained the song's concept, stating: "'Super Bass' is about the boy that you are crushing over, [...] And you kind of want to get your mack on, but you're taking the playful approach."
"Massive Attack" was released on April 13, 2010 through digital distribution. The song was a distinct change from Minaj's previous work on mixtapes and features, thus receiving mixed to positive reviews from critics, commending lyrical content and distinctiveness, but critiquing that it did not fit her "Barbie" persona well. The song bubbled under the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 22, and peaked at number 65 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Massive Attack" was initially announced as the album's lead single, however, after the single's poor chart performance, Minaj dethroned its lead single status and declared that it would not be featured on the album.
"Your Love" was released as the album's first official US single on June 1, 2010 and as the first single in the United Kingdom on July 2, 2010. Initially, the song had never been planned for release, but due to abounding airplay it was mastered and used as the follow-up to "Massive Attack". The song peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, number four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and topped the Hot Rap Songs chart for eight consecutive weeks. Minaj became the first female artist to top the Hot Rap Songs chart unaccompanied since 2002. It also charted in Canada and the UK.
"Check It Out" was released on September 3, 2010. It was a joint single from the album between will.i.am and Minaj. A music video for the song was directed by Rich Lee and was released on October 25, 2010. The song has since peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Right Thru Me" was released on September 24, 2010, and officially impacted urban radio on October 5, 2010. A music video directed by Diane Martel was released for the single on October 27, 2010. The song peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Moment 4 Life", which features Drake, officially impacted US Rhythmic radio on December 7, 2010, as the album's fourth single. The music video for "Moment 4 Life" was released on January 27, 2011. The song has peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Rap Songs charts. "Roman's Revenge" featuring Eminem was released as a promotional single to iTunes on October 30, 2010. A re-worked version of "Roman's Revenge" featuring Lil Wayne was released to the iTunes Store on January 19, 2011.
"Did It On'em" was sent to rhythmic radio on March 7, 2011, as the album's fifth single. The song peaked at number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at numbers 3 and 4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Rap Songs charts respectively. "Girls Fall like Dominoes" was released in Australia on April 11, 2011, and in the United Kingdom on April 15, 2011.
"Super Bass" was released as the album's sixth single and officially impacted radio on April 5, 2011. It was released to iTunes in some markets on May 13, 2011. The song became an international top ten hit. In its seventh week on the Billboard Hot 100, the song had peaked at number 10, making it Minaj's first top ten placement as a lead artist. The song has since climbed and peaked at number 3 on that chart. The song's title is also used as part of the title of a UK deluxe edition of the album, called the "Super Bass edition".
"Fly", which features Rihanna, was officially released as the album's eighth and final single. It was sent to US rhythmic radio and to Top 40/Mainstream radio on August 30, 2011. The song has since peaked at number 19 on Billboard Hot 100 as well as in the top 20 in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Release and promotionEdit
On July 8, 2010, Minaj announced via Twitter that the album would be released on November 23, 2010. It was later announced that the album was pushed up by one day to November 22, 2010. Minaj's official website and related social networking outlets later announced that the digital download version of the album would be available for pre-order through iTunes on October 30, less than a month before the release date of the physical edition.
On her Twitter, Minaj stated that if she reached one million followers she would dedicate a Ustream to her fans. On August 3, 2010, Minaj went on Ustream to call fans who emailed her their phone numbers and to reveal the album's title. Later that same day, Minaj revealed on Ustream that the album's name would be Pink Friday, stating, "To carry on a great tradition of Black Friday, we are going to switch it up this year in honor of the Nicki Minaj album and call that day Pink Friday, and call my album Pink Friday!" A deluxe edition of the album was also confirmed. Minaj released the official artwork for her album cover on Friday, October 15, 2010. Rap-Up commented on the album cover, stating "The cover features Minaj as a doll alarmingly staring at the camera, sitting armless on the ground with her elongated legs in a flowing silver corset, pink stilettos, and a stark pink wig."
|Tour by Nicki Minaj|
|Associated album||Pink Friday|
|Start date||October 22, 2010|
|End date||October 30, 2010|
|No. of shows||5|
|Nicki Minaj concert chronology|
Minaj announced via the social networking site Twitter that she would kick off a five-date promotional tour a month before the album dropped. Tweeting, "Ok Barbz, here are the 1st 5 dates on my Pink Friday Tour," the tour began in Philadelphia on October 22, and ran through October 30 in Trinidad and Tobago.
|October 22, 2010||Philadelphia||United States||Wells Fargo Center|
|October 23, 2010||Washington, DC||Star Night Club|
|October 24, 2010||Waterbury||Sin City|
|October 25, 2010||Boston||TD Garden|
|October 30, 2010||Port of Spain||Trinidad and Tobago||Hasely Crawford Stadium|
Pink Friday received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 68, based on 26 reviews. James Reed of The Boston Globe called it "a brash pop album brimming with Minaj's various personae and Technicolor rhymes". Entertainment Weekly's Brad Wete commended Minaj's "knack for melody" and "boasting lyrics". Sam Wolfson of NME complimented Minaj's "pop sensibility" and found her "volatility and quirks ... reminiscent of heyday Lil Wayne". Los Angeles Times writer Margaret Wappler commented that the album "shows Minaj is on the cusp", while Ann Powers noted Minaj's attempt to showcase her multi-faceted range and complimented her female perspective. Marc Hogan of Spin felt that "as an MC showcase... the album falls short", but ultimately viewed it as "a budding artist's love letter to pop – well-wrought and exuberantly penned". AllMusic's David Jeffries wrote that it "both dazzles and disappoints", stating "Feed off the production, the great musical ideas, and Minaj's keen sense of her surroundings, and Pink Friday is an outstanding success". Allison Stewart of The Washington Post wrote that the album "nibbles at the edges of what female rappers are allowed to do, even as it provides a steady helping of pop hits". Robert Christgau from MSN Music called Minaj "the quick-lipped hoyden of the year" who is "proud to be shameless, with the hooks to back it up", and later named Pink Friday the 12th best album of 2010.
In a mixed review, Andy Gill of The Independent felt that "Right Thru Me" is the only track that exhibits "adequate use of [Minaj's] R&B vocal skills" among an album of unoriginal "rap braggadocio". Slant Magazine's Jesse Cataldo praised Minaj's versatility on tracks like "Roman's Revenge", but was disappointed with the collaborative "Moment 4 Life", noting she could have shown more confidence by acting as a foil for Drake, but didn't. Kitty Empire of The Observer called the album a "triumph of prevarication", but stated "Pink Friday can't decide whether Minaj is a rapper or just another pop artist [...] This album's pop quotient... is adequate, but anonymous." Rich Juzwiak of The Village Voice criticized the album's "R&B crossover" material and found it lyrically "underwhelming". Alexis Petridis of The Guardian commented that "for every burst of originality, there's a burst of generic frosty synth and Auto-Tune", noting that "the pop- and R&B-influenced tracks simply aren't as exciting, lyrically or musically, as the foam-mouthed hardcore ones". Pitchfork critic Scott Plagenhoef was ambivalent towards its pop concessions, although he felt that "even when she's aiming down the middle of the road, she's at least better than almost anyone else".
Pink Friday debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 375,000 copies in its first week. This marked the second-highest sales week for a female hip hop recording artist, behind Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998. On December 17, 2010, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In its eleventh week on the chart, the album sold 45,000 copies and topped the Billboard 200. The album also broke the record for the most weeks in the top ten on the Billboard 200 chart by a female rap album, having spent fourteen consecutive weeks in the top ten since its release. On March 22, 2016, the album was certified triple platinum by the RIAA for combined album sales, track sales, on-demand audio, and video streams equivalent of three million album-sale units. As of February 2018, the album has sold two million copies in the United States. Elsewhere, Pink Friday peaked at number eight in Canada, and within the top twenty in Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, it has sold 282,000 copies, as of April 2012.
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Pink Friday.
|Pink Friday – Standard version|
|1.||"I'm the Best"||Kane Beatz||3:37|
|2.||"Roman's Revenge" (featuring Eminem)||Swizz Beatz||4:38|
|3.||"Did It On'em"||
|4.||"Right Thru Me"||
|5.||"Fly" (featuring Rihanna)||
|7.||"Moment 4 Life" (featuring Drake)||T-Minus||4:39|
|8.||"Check It Out" (featuring will.i.am)||will.i.am||4:11|
|9.||"Blazin'" (featuring Kanye West)||
|10.||"Here I Am"||
|11.||"Dear Old Nicki"||
|13.||"Last Chance" (featuring Natasha Bedingfield)||
|Pink Friday – Deluxe version (bonus tracks)|
|15.||"Blow Ya Mind"||Blackout||3:41|
|Pink Friday – Best Buy bonus tracks|
|17.||"Wave Ya Hand"||
|Pink Friday – Japanese and New Zealand bonus tracks|
|17.||"Wave Ya Hand"||
|19.||"Girls Fall Like Dominoes"||
|20.||"BedRock" (Young Money featuring Lloyd)||Kane Beatz||4:48|
|Pink Friday – US iTunes Store bonus tracks|
|17.||"Girls Fall Like Dominoes"||
|Pink Friday – International iTunes Store bonus track|
|19.||"Wave Ya Hand"||
|20.||"Roman's Revenge" (featuring Lil Wayne)||
|Pink Friday – UK iTunes Store bonus tracks and UK Super Bass edition|
|14.||"Girls Fall Like Dominoes"||
|Pink Friday – UK iTunes Store bonus track and UK reissue|
|18.||"Roman's Revenge" (featuring Lil Wayne)||
- Sample credits
- "Check It Out" samples "Video Killed the Radio Star" performed by The Buggles, and elements and samples of "Think (About It)" written by James Brown, performed by Lyn Collins.
- "Blazin" samples "Don't You (Forget About Me)", written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, as performed by Simple Minds.
- "Here I Am" samples "Red Sky" by John B and Shaz Sparks.
- "Your Love" samples "No More I Love You's" by Annie Lennox.
- "Girls Fall Like Dominoes" contains samples from "Dominos" written by The Big Pink, and interpolations of "Trailar Load a Girls" written by Cleveland Browne, Greville Gordon and Whycliffe Johnson.
- Chris Bellman – mastering
- Joshua Berkman – A&R
- Sandy Brummels – art direction
- Noel Cadastre – assistant
- Dwayne "Tha President" Carter – executive producer
- Lyttleton "Cartwheel" Carter – assistant
- Ariel Chobaz – engineer, mixing
- Seandrae "Mr. Bangladesh" Crawford – producer
- James Cruz – A&R, management
- Sean Combs – management
- DJ Ammo – synthesizer
- Dylan Dresdow – mixing
- Chris Gehringer – mastering
- Kevin Hissink – electric guitar
- John B. – keyboards, producer, programming
- Padraic Kerin – engineer
- Kenny Meiselas – legal counsel
- Drew Money – producer
- Charles Moniz – engineer
- J.R. Rotem – arranger, mixing
- Safaree "SB" Samuels – A&R, vocals
- Ed Shapiro – legal counsel
- Noah "40" Shebib – engineer
- Olivia Smith – package design
- Shaz Sparks – vocals
- Swizz Beatz – producer
- T-Minus – producer
- Pop Wansel – producer
- will.i.am – drum programming, engineer, producer, synthesizer
- Bryan Williams – executive producer
- Ronald Williams – executive producer
- G.L. Wood – photography
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||282,000|
|United States (RIAA)||3× Platinum||2,000,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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