Review Roundup: Nicki Minaj – ‘The Pinkprint’

Nicki Minaj’s third album The Pinkprint lands in stores today. On her most personal project yet, the rap queen holds court with Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, and Meek Mill, and enlists production from hitmakers including Da Internz, Mike WiLL Made-It, Dr. Luke, Hit-Boy, and Boi-1da.

From big booty anthems (“Anaconda”) to big ballads (“Grand Piano”), the 32-year-old icon shows her versatility, while keeping in check with her mixtape roots. She reveals her secrets on the confessional opening number “All Things Go,” and proves that she can rap with the best of them on “Four Door Aventador.”

“I think the album is so classic,” Nicki said of the follow-up to 2012’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. “It’s gonna feel so good and I think it will probably be something that female rappers look to as a Pinkprint for years to come.”

Did The Pinkprint make its mark with critics? The reviews are in.

Rolling Stone: Now, as the Blueprint-referencing title implies, she’s more Hov than Gaga. … This is a rap royal in full flex. We’re lucky to watch the throne. 4/5

Los Angeles Times: The Pinkprint won’t fully placate the hard-core rap heads, but it’s got the bangs and the thrills many of us have hoped for, even if it’s a slow build kind of power and slacks at times. 3/4

The New York Times: The Pinkprint is her third studio album, and like the first two it’s full of compromises and half-successes. Sometimes she wants to be cousins with OneRepublic, sometimes Lil Wayne. And she succeeds at both, though only one of those goals is noble.

USA Today: The deftly syncopated and haunting “All Things Go” seems more authentically confessional, with Minaj admitting to her doubts and her dreams. The more upbeat “The Night Is Still Young,” with its funky bass and guitars, is another high point, with Minaj professing, “Life is a journey/I just want to enjoy the ride.” 2.5/4

New York Daily News: It’s the most pop-friendly album of her career, primed for evening the playing field with teen-adored stars like [Iggy] Azalea. 3/5

New York Post: The New Yorker serves up a surprisingly introspective and atmospheric third album, The Pinkprint. … She’s still Nicki, but the person is now just as big as the persona. 3/4

The Atlantic: As a personal statement, The Pinkprint works effectively. As an album … it has some issues. There are absolutely highlights: The Beyoncé-featuring “Feeling Myself” is a delightfully cocky boast for both queens. The two Meek Mill collaborations—”Big Daddy” and “Buy a Heart”—practically bounce through the listener, they’re so energetic.

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Feeling Myself,” “Get On Your Knees,” “Four Door Aventador,” “Big Daddy”