My opinion of Queen fully crystallized on the track “Chun Swae” featuring Swae Lee. It was here that Minaj took a moment to stretch out at the end of the six-minute opus to speak directly to her haters and fans alike.
“You’re in the middle of Queen right now, thinking … I see why she calls herself this s— Queen, because this b—- is really the f—ing Queen.”
This pronouncement was followed by a maniacal laugh. And it was weird. Really weird. Listen, I get it. A big part of hip-hop has always been an artist flexing, telling both the world and their peers that they are the undisputed best. But this felt different in that I couldn’t tell if she was trying to convince us or herself that she was indeed “The Queen.”
In totality, that’s what this album represented to me. It was like those hilarious moments in season 1 of “Insecure” where Issa Rae’s character would stand in front of the mirror and hype herself up. That, in my view, is what Nicki was doing on this album. Now, that’s not me implying that Queen lacked any standout moments. In fact, there were several stellar moments that solidified Nicki Minaj’s standing as one of the best female rappers to ever do it.
But let’s be clear: Only the most ardent Barbie devotees could be pleased with such an uneven album that clocked in at an eye-opening one hour and six minutes. For casual fans like myself, the unnecessary fat on this album will do nothing more than negate all of the standout moments that Queen has to offer.
In the end, Queen is in many ways similar to having a debate about President Donald Trump. The opinion of Nicki Minaj, both as a person and as an artist, has long been baked in. You either love her or hate her, and this album will do nothing to change that opinion on either side.
Final Grade: B-
Let us know your thoughts on Queen, and stay tuned for more GIF album reviews.