The rollout for Nicki Minaj’s fourth studio album, Queen, has been one serious roller coaster ride. The moments have been controversial and entertaining, as Minaj has put her social media and Queen Radio show to full use, discussing her album and engaging in verbal spats with a few figures in the music industry. Minaj’s turbulent return to the spotlight has left fans divided, with some questioning her antics and others praising her brash opinions.
Minaj has given fans a lot to talk about in the last month, from Tyga’s hairline to Harriet Tubman comparisons. Despite the reactions, Minaj stands firmly behind her many declarations, confidently tweeting that she’s having her “most iconic” time. As we continue to scratch our heads and wonder what will happen next, here’s a timeline of Nicki Minaj’s controversial moments over the past month.
Aug. 1: Nicki Minaj Pushes Back Her Release Date for Queen
To coincide with her updated Apple Music Essentials playlist, the Queens MC delivered a note to her fans to celebrate the moment. In the note, Minaj gave shout-outs to her “Big Bank” collaborators YG, Big Sean and 2 Chainz, as well as her close friend and frequent collaborator Ariana Grande. With Minaj’s fourth LP originally slated for a release on June 15, she announced in March she would push it back to Aug. 10. With fans expecting the album in just a few days, Minaj gave some breaking news to end the note: “I hope you enjoy my playlist. Can’t wait for you guys to hear my 4th album QUEEN ON AUGUST 17!!!!!!!”
Just a day before the announcement, due to some sample-clearing issues, the “FEFE” rapper asked for her fans’ input on keeping a specific record on the album. “So there’s a record on Queen that features 1 of the greatest of all-time. Had no clue it samples the legendary Tracy Chapman – do I keep my date and lose the record? Or do I lose the record and keep my date? Do we push #Queen back 1 week? Ugh, I’m torn y’all help,” she wrote. Minaj later posted a poll to Twitter with fans split down the middle between both options.
Since I may have asked it wrong. —- vote. You guys can only imagine how much this means to me. It’s such a perfect body of work –love you. Long time.
— QUEEN (@NICKIMINAJ) August 1, 2018
Aug. 10: Nicki Minaj Drops Queen After All
Just a week after pushing it back, Nicki Minaj announced Queen would drop on Aug. 10 during the debut episode of Queen Radio on Beats 1. The album arrived earlier than expected, leaving Twitter in a frenzy. The album includes the previously released singles “Chun-Li” and “Bed” and the Lil Wayne-assisted “Rich Sex.” Minaj enlisted a star-studded cast of features including The Weeknd, Swae Lee, Future, Eminem, Foxy Brown and more.
Fans pointed out that some bars on album opener “Ganja Burns” may have been directed toward Cardi B. “They done went to witch doctors to bury the Barbie/ But I double back, kill bitches, bury the body,” she raps with the line “bury the body” at first sounding like “bury the Bardi,” Cardi’s nickname. Minaj takes some more direct and light-hearted shots at a number of male rappers on the Biggie Smalls-inspired “Barbie Dreams.”
She admits Meek Mill is still in her DMs, she and DJ Khaled are not on speaking terms, and Young Thug allegedly stole dresses from her. The song left many to believe Onika had several bones to pick, regardless of the nonsensical shots being thrown.
Aug. 13: Nicki Minaj & DJ Self Engage in a Social Media War of Words
Days after dropping Queen to the masses, Minaj found herself in a back-and-forth spat with Power 105.1 radio personality DJ Self. Following Nicki Minaj’s appearance at the radio station for DJ Clue’s radio show, Self allegedly stated that Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy was the best album released all year by a female rapper. Minaj caught wind of the alleged comments and went to Twitter to explain that the Love & Hip Hop star was upset Minaj denied him a hug and drop. She later tweeted that Self actually dissed Cardi prior to his statement supporting the Bronx rapper’s album.
DJ Self clapped back in an Instagram post giving his explanation of the encounter at Power 105.1. “I never asked for a Hug or a drop truth is i said Hi she said hi back never knew she had an Issue with me we only speak when she has a project droppin. Clue asked her to do a drop for Dj Self and she declined,” Self wrote. He later pointed out in the post the timing of Nicki’s tirade to the release of Queen. Minaj responded vehemently on Twitter, promising to air out the radio DJ on the next episode of Queen Radio.
Aug. 18: Nicki Minaj Feels She’s Being Bullied for Working With 6ix9ine on ‘FEFE’
Nicki Minaj caught everyone by surprise when she collaborated with the controversial Brooklyn rapper 6ix9ine on “FEFE.” Many wondered why Minaj would work with the “GUMMO” rapper, especially after 69 was convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor. In an article published by Pitchfork, Minaj is criticized by writer Shanita Hubbard for working with the embattled star. “The choice to use her platform to further legitimize a sexual predator is in direct contrast with the nationwide, black women-led movement to silence music’s most infamous abuser [R. Kelly],” the article states. “I do hope she realizes that the message she sends by supporting an abuser threatens to eclipse the vibrant verses she has spent years perfecting.”
Nicki hopped on Twitter to mention Pitchfork praising Lady Gaga’s record with R. Kelly in the past and also accusing publications of paying writers to write negative pieces on her. “When I was told they were being paid to write these things I didn’t believe it, now I know it’s true —- #Queen bitch!!!!” she tweeted. “I’m supposed to keep letting these ppl get money to bully me behind the scenes & not say anything. Yikes.”
She later mentioned the reason behind the backlash over her collaboration with 69 is because nothing bad could be said about her fourth LP Queen. “They writing about 69 cuz #Queen is flawless,” she tweeted.
Aug. 19: Nicki Calls Out Travis Scott, Kylie Jenner, Stormi, Republic Records & Spotify for Astroworld Topping Queen
After Travis Scott’s Astroworld topped the Billboard 200 for a second week, Nicki Minaj voiced her opinion on Queen debuting at No. 2. “I looked at the numbers the Carters, Kanye, Nas, etc recently did. Travis sold 200k in his first week of clothes alone,” she tweeted. “I spoke to him. He knows he doesn’t have the #1 album this week. I love my fans for the #1 album in AMERICA! I’ll explain on #QueenRadio 4 albums in, #1 in 86 countries.” Minaj also stated her label, Republic Records, refused to obtain promotional spots for Queen in order to protect the promotion behind labelmate Ariana Grande’s newly released Sweetener album.
Kylie Jenner and Stormi were later thrown into the mix after Jenner posted a link to Scott’s Astroworld merchandise bundles on Instagram. “I put my blood sweat & tears in writing a dope album only for Travis Scott to have Kylie Jenner post a tour pass telling ppl to come see her & Stormi. lol. Im actually laughing. #Queen broke the record of being number 1 in 86 countries. Thank Jesus & thank you to my fans.”
Minaj also blamed Spotify for taking away sales by allegedly canceling promotion of the album as a result of Minaj premiering it through Apple Music. “Spotify had to teach me a lesson but rewarded the man who has had an Apple radio show the longest; inadvertently helping the Apple platform the most,” she tweeted, referencing the push Drake’s album Scorpion got. “My music went up on Apple so I played it,” she continued. “I assumed it was on Spotify & Tidal at the same time. Spotify said that Apple tweeted fans advising #Queen was up & therefore they had to teach me a lesson.”
Aug. 20: Nicki Compares Herself to Harriet Tubman Before Taking Home the Best Hip-Hop Video Award at VMAs
On Aug. 20, Nicki Minaj took to Twitter to speak about famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman as a way of defending her recent actions. “All the QUEENS I remember, SHOOK SHIT UP!!!!!!!! Queen of the week may go to HARRIET TUBMAN!!!!!!” she tweeted. Several hours later she tried to clarify her statement with a another tweet, stating, “She said she could’ve rescued more slaves had they known they were slaves. I fought for streaming services to count toward billboard when alotta n—z stayed quiet.”
Y’all I had no idea Harriet Tubman was now trending. I said what I said. ———- #QueenRadio will honor her tmrw. She said she could’ve rescued more slaves had they known they were slaves. I fought for streaming services to count toward billboard when alotta niggz stayed quiet
— QUEEN (@NICKIMINAJ) August 20, 2018
Following the controversy, Minaj beat out The Carters, J. Cole, Drake and Cardi B to take home the award for best hip-hop video at the MTV Video Music Awards. Before diving into her thank you speech, Minaj defended Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei after comedian Tiffany Haddish dissed her and the group and showed love to Camila Cabello and her five VMA nominations. “Don’t be coming for Fifth Harmony because Normani is that bitch,” Minaj said.
Minaj continued on with her speech thanking her fans all around the world and her guest features on the album, including The Weeknd, Eminem and Ariana Grande. Before leaving the stage, the “Chun-Li” rapper told fans to tune into Queen Radio on Aug. 21 as she planned to name the recipient of her “C–k Sucka of the Day.”
Aug. 22: The North American Leg of Her NICKIHNDRXX Tour Is Rescheduled
Nicki Minaj took to Instagram after reports of the North American leg of the NICKIHNDRXX Tour was being delayed to May 2019 made its rounds. “Future and I will now start the European leg of our tour first, so those dates will stay exactly the same and the U.S. leg of the tour will now start in May,” the Queens native said, explaining the postponement. “This is all happening because I pushed my album back two months and I just finished writing and recording literally hours before the album came out,” she added. “Now, I simply don’t have the time to rehearse and be on the road and give you guys the level of a show I need to give. I really apologize but it will be worth it.”
Aug. 23: Nicki Minaj Calls Out Pitchfork & Irving Azoff While Shouting Out Kylie Jenner, Rosa Parks & Margaret Thatcher
On episode 5 of Queen Radio on Aug. 23, Nicki took to the airwaves to give fans another exciting show. Minaj wasted no time giving Irving Azoff, Travis Scott’s co-manager and former CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment, the “C–k Sucka of the Day” award. “There are so many powerful people in this industry who have tried to stop me from speaking up,” Nicki said before accusing the 70-year-old executive of allegedly launching a smear campaign against her upcoming tour.
Pitchfork received the “Dick Rider of the Year” award after giving Queen a 7.6 rating out of 10 with a generally positive review. “[Pitchfork,] you get the Dick Rider of the Year award. Fucking dummies. Trying to spread negative things about me and it reverses. Now my show is the number one show in Apple history. Write about that,” she said.
On a lighter note, Minaj gave shout-outs to a number of people, including Kanye West for inspiring people to speak their minds, as well as Halle Berry, Taylor Swift and Margaret Thatcher. Rosa Parks received the “Queen of the Week” Award, while Nicki shot down any rumors of a feud with Kylie. “She gotta ride with her man, why the fuck wouldn’t she? We’re not gonna make this what it’s not. She’s a dope girl … This is strictly about music, she has nothing to do with this. My fans are not feeding into this. We love Kylie,” Nicki said.