Nicki Minaj's 15 Best Songs: Critic's Picks
Nicki Minaj boasts one of the most dedicated fan-bases in all of music making for one of the most unique fan to artist relationships in the industry. And the Barbz are thirsty for new music as the Queens native is hard at work on her upcoming fourth studio album, which will be her first official release since The Pinkprint in late 2014.
The 34-year-old claims this new set will be her fans’ “favorite Nicki project thus far,” as Minaj draws on new-found inspiration from Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” topping the Billboard charts and moving on from beefing with Remy Ma.
The Young Money artist has donned the crown as rap’s queen for much of the past decade, which included a run of four charting records simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100. With an album and tour on the way, let’s dive into her decorated discography to narrow down the best Nicki Minaj songs ranging from her brash mixtape era to her bubbly pop anthems and much in-between.
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15. Nicki Minaj - “Catch Me”
Earlier in 2017, Minaj helped pay tuition and college loans for about thirty students to help ease the financial stranglehold universities have on students. “Catch Me” may have also taught those same students the difference between parallel and perpendicular lines in the opening verse of the track Minaj raps, “Extracurricular, parallel to none, I am perpendicular.”
As one of the 34-year-old’s most personal works of art, it’s heart-warming to see that the Pink Friday Best Buy edition bonus track finally made its way to iTunes and major streaming services. On Instagram, Nicki admitted that the Swizz Beats-produced record was originally meant for Diddy’s album, but she begged him to keep it and is one of her favorites to this very day.
14. Nicki Minaj – “Did It On ‘Em”
Channeling her alter-ego Roman Zolanski, Minaj delivers one of her most aggressive songs to date, rapping, “All these bitches is my sons/ And I'mma go and get some bibs for 'em/ A couple formulas, little pretty lids on 'em/ If I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on 'em.” The hostile Bangladesh-produced trash-talk even dissed Lil’ Kim later on. Nicki admitted to freestyling the hook to “Did It On ‘Em” on Twitter in 2017. Let this track serve as a reminder of the diverse range Minaj has flowed on throughout her career.
13. Nicki Minaj – “Freedom”
The soothing “Freedom” showcases Minaj at the top of her game as an artist, but somehow it remains one of her most underrated creations, even though it ranks as one of her personal favorites. On Twitter, Nicki admitted to spending days writing the song out in Malibu, California, before it finally made its way on to Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up. For the elegant Colin Tilley-directed visual, the Young Money artist crossed the pond to Dungeness, England, for a fresh perspective on life. The video premiered on 106 & Park on November 19th, 2012 and is definitely an underrated Nicki Minaj song.
12. Nicki Minaj – “Feeling Myself” Featuring Beyoncé
Once Nicki agreed to hop on Beyonce’s “Flawless (Remix)” a deal was in place for Bey to reciprocate on The Pinkprint. There was much anticipation to see what the two largest female persona’s in hip-hop would create. The Hit-Boy-produced record did not disappoint with the help of SZA’s pen, as the collaboration saw the duo on an ego trip, boasting about their lifetime achievements over bass drums and high synths.
An official Paris Goebel-choreographed music video was released exclusively via TIDAL on May 18th, 2015, with filming at multiple locations including Coachella.
11. Nicki Minaj – “Pound the Alarm”
Minaj took it back to her Trinidadian roots for the “Pound The Alarm” dance floor inspired visual, which took place at a carnival in Port of Spain. RedOne handled the production and is credited as a co-writer on the poppy song. The songstress took a Twitter poll to decide her next single on Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, but ended up going with “Pound the Alarm” after the overwhelming amount of radio requests the track received, going on to be officially released on June 12th, 2012. The support from Barbz propelled the bubbly record to No. 15 on the Hot 100.
10. Nicki Minaj – “Beez In The Trap” Featuring 2 Chainz
Atlanta’s own 2 Chainz and the queen of rap finally collaborated on the obscure sounding record, which features both artists bragging about their vast experiences in the trap. Topping out at No. 48 on the Hot 100, the Ke’noe produced “Beez In The Trap,” which appeared on Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, went on to be certified gold by the RIAA in 2012. Benny Boom held his own directing the visual, which was nominated for best hip-hop video at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.
9. Nicki Minaj – “Pills and Potions”
Coming into her third studio album, The Pinkprint, Minaj knew she had to deliver with the first single. Two weeks prior on “Yasss Bish,” the Queens native teased her forthcoming soulful single saying it was on the way. Minaj delivered in only the fashion she could with an emotional record co-written by The Game, who even made a shirtless cameo in the music video. The uplifting song climbed the charts after premiering No. 47 on the Hot 100, which was in part due to fans purchasing the monstrous record 84,000 times in its first four days after being released.
8. Nicki Minaj – “Truffle Butter” Featuring Drake & Lil Wayne
From iTunes bonus track to radio smash, the Young Money trio teamed up once again boasting their luxurious lifestyle on “Truffle Butter” in early 2015. The Nineteen85-produced banger peaked at No. 14 on the Hot 100 chart and was even nominated for best rap performance at the 58th Grammy Awards. “Truffle Butter” was the fifth single off of Nicki’s The Pinkprint studio album. When Drake, Lil Wayne and Barbie team up you know something special is about to go down.
7. Nicki Minaj – “Only” Featuring Drake, Lil Wayne & Chris Brown
The First Lady of Young Money made history with “Only,” as she became the first female rap artist with four U.S. Hot Hip-Hop/R&B chart topping singles. The triple-platinum certified record features superstar assists from Drake, Weezy and Chris Brown who tunefully flows on the tracks’ chorus. The Dr. Luke-produced “Only” was nominated for best rap/sung collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards. Minaj ran into some trouble when the lyric video released late in November of 2014, as social media outrage poured out as the visual contained what some felt resembled Nazi symbolism, which Nicki didn’t approve. She later tweeted, “I’d never condone Nazism in my art.”
6. Nicki Minaj – “Right By My Side” Featuring Chris Brown
Released as the second single off of Nicki’s sophomore offering, “Right By My Side” calls on Chris Brown for the major assist and even sees Nas playing the role of Nicki’s boyfriend in the Benny Boom-directed visual. Fast forward five years and rumors are swirling that the two could be a romantic couple.
5. Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
The taboo “Anaconda” visual created a lane for itself within the culture, as critics had a tough time decoding its artistic value, as the video racked up over 19 million views in its first 24 hours on the internet. Combine that with the track’s scandalous art-work and Minaj nearly broke the internet once again. Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” was even sampled over the song’s sexual lyrics, which took a back seat as the conversation was mostly driven by the visual. “Anaconda” served as the second single on 2014’s The Pinkprint album arguably the most bootylicious Nicki Minaj song of all-time.
4. Nicki Minaj – “Blazin” Featuring Kanye West
Minaj delivered arguably the verse of her career on Kanye West’s “Monster,” off his 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Yeezy returned the favor after returning from Hawaii on the Drew Money-produced beat, laying down what may go on to be West’s most underrated guest verse.
The slept on record samples Simple Minds’ 1985 smash “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” After West’s wish to get on “Right Thru Me” went ungranted, Nicki and Ye blazed through one prolonged verse a piece after Minaj freestyled the standout track’s hook.
3. Nicki Minaj – "Moment for Life” Featuring Drake
After hopping on Drake’s “Up All Night,” Drizzy came to the aid of his Young Money sister. “Moment For Life” was the fourth single off Pink Friday, which released in 2010. The collaboration features an unorthodox song structure, in which the duo dreams about their plans for the future. The tuneful hit became the Barbie-inspired Minaj’s first number one on the Hot Hip-Hop/R&B chart and was later nominated for best rap performance at the 2012 Grammy Awards before losing to JAY-Z and West's “Otis.” The T-Minus-produced record has sold over 2 million copies.
2. Nicki Minaj – “Starships”
Minaj put a stamp on her crossover to mainstream pop superstar with “Starships” serving as the lead single off of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. The RedOne produced dance record debuted in the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart after its 2012 Valentine’s day release and stayed there for 21 weeks straight. The six-times platinum anthem sky-rocketed the Trinidadian artist’s career to another level, as Nicki took her talents to the Oahu Islands of Hawaii for the Anthony Mandler directed visual.
1. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
The electronic influenced record became one of Pink Friday’s stand-out tracks, after it was sent to radio and became an official single on April 5th, 2011. “Super Bass” plays on as a frisky love tune, in which the colorful visual features Minaj donning a half blonde and pink hairdo and now has accumulated over 694 million plays since its release six years ago. The booming tune peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100, making it the highest charting solo record by a female artist at the time since Missy Elliott’s “Work It” in 2002. Fans are on a mission to make one of Nicki’s greatest songs the first diamond record by a solo black artist.