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The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 5-14-21 – 5-20-21, Nicki Minaj’s “Beam Me Up, Scotty” Reviewed

Nicki Minaj followed in the footsteps of 1990s superstars like Foxy Brown and Lil Kim, was followed by pretenders to the throne like Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, and misplaced her position taking four year breaks between albums and releasing songs that certainly were not prime Minaj. Her last album was the messy Queen, and since then she has been relatively quiet and even if she hadn’t, she has been washed and spin dried on the she who lives on the charts, dies on the charts threshold of pain. Angry over having her position at the top of the rap chain dethroned by the in your faceness of modern women rappers -all out of the strio clubs and onto the dancefloor, she has floundered.

So, finally, she has released a set we can all agree upon: her 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up, Scotty, an hour plus of the sort of rapping, flow, and brittle lyricism, that births a superstar. with a new lead off song featuring Drizzy and Weezy at full strength on “Seeing Green” -a sort of reminder that the class of 2021 have not overtaken the best in class here, with an especially strong Lil Wayne verse.

With that over, we return twelve years later to a series of smackdowns, the sort of songs that make an unknown the cusp of superstardom. The spits iare there, bar hopping and yet never so fast she trips,  she enunciates and she cuts and clips the words (the aftereffects of her parents Trinidadian roots), and she plays it straight rap down the middle, a million miles away from The Pinkprint, let alone Queen. It’s all prime Cash Money artist representing in a time where being clearly heard was at the heart of the best rappers: both Drake and Lil Wayne enunciate better than you’ll hear in mumble rap, and Nicki kept place. She kept up with Gucci Mane on three songs as well (making slumber party into a warcry, and while art rap like “Itty Bitty Piggy” shouldn’t be great and yet is. Joined by Drake and Weezy on three songs, she went head to head with the biggest rappers in the biz and came out untouched; speedy, vicious, on top of the rapper zeitgeist. “It’s like I just single-handedly annihilated you know every rap bitch in da building like…”

Beam Me Up, Scotty, sounds better than it did, it reminds us all how much Minaj should be the top rapper period, and if you are into pop or rap, it will remind you why you are. But despite “Seeing Green,” the question is can you still compete?

Grade: A-

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