In “Did It On’em” from 2010, by Nicki Minaj’s debut studio album, Pink friday, the then 28-year-old rapper asserted her dominance in the rap game. “All these bitches, they’re my sons / And I’m going to get them some bibs,” she knocked, foreshadowing her star power. The Bangladesh-made track uses activist alarm bells to grab listeners’ attention. Eleven years later, Nicki has proven herself to be the chief rapper and part-time fortune teller based on those early nursery rhymes. The New York native has helped birth a new generation of rappers who are emulating her style and revamping her legendary bars. She even helped pave the way for a select group of producers looking to create Nicki Minaj-Type beats with female rappers in mind.
Nicki is easily one of the most versatile MCs out there to bless a mic. She’s made millions of upbeat pop hits and traditional hip-hop sounds that respond to her femininity. The Queens rapper’s first solo single, “Your love,” landed a few inches from the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 graphic and peaked at # 14 on August 7, 2010. The assembled Pop and Oak track features 808s coated in frilly instrumentation that swell the track into a romantic production.
Pink friday is a shining example of what it means to wind and weave in and out of a pop space without losing edge and becoming a sale. Whether it’s “Moment 4 Life”, powered and assisted by Drake, directed by producer T-Minus, or the guitar flicks of the sung rap ballad produced by Drew Money “Right through me,” Nicki’s pen is sharp and pointy. The Eminem collab “Roman’s Revenge”, the spatial and blippy beat designed by Swizz Beatz, finds her going straight to the jugular with boastful bars. On “Last Chance”, assisted by Natasha Bedingfield, finds Drew Money dropping electric guitar riffs and big jazzy drums that look like summer. “Check It Out”, with Will.i.am behind the boards, follows the light pop formula with manic piano keys and daring 808s.
Nicki Minaj’s rhythm selection has shifted into fine pop productions full of courage and hip-hop boom in recent years. “Majesty”, with Labrinth and Eminem, the latter having also produced the track that appears on it 2018 Queen album, is the set of the rapper’s keys that picks up speed with reverberation effects on the bass that support the hardcore lyricism of the rhymer. Elsewhere, the LP is filled with powerful bass and sharp touches on tracks like “Rich Sex” with Lil Wayne and produced by Big Juice and J. Reid. Reid is also the mastermind behind “Chun-Li”. He builds the beat with a booming gong and built around a hard, nodding sound filled with modified horns, saxophone, and two different drum patterns that Nicki fans love to vibrate to.
Whether you’re looking for the Nicki who went pop or the hardcore production she raps masterfully on, check out the 2021 Nicki Minaj-style beats below.
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