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No Longer Featuring Nicki Minaj

Guest Blogger: Tina Hart

There was a time where a big chunk of chart tunes either featured Jay-Z or Ja Rule, well, the latest rapper to clock up a considerable amount of collaborations in a little time is the first lady of Young Money, Nicki Minaj.

Nicki performing @ BET Awards 2010 © PA Images According to an online encyclopaedia, Nicki has astonishingly made almost 40 guest appearances on tracks in 2010 alone but is temporarily retiring from lending her vocals to her mates, as she tweeted yesterday ‘And on that note… No More Features 😉 #pinkfriday’

Nicki pulling a face @ BET Awards 2010 © PA ImagesFor those who don’t know, Nicki is the hottest rap vixen of the moment coming out of the US. Her style is less risqué than Lil Kim and Foxy Brown before her, but she packs a healthy dose of strong female swagger, humour, funny voices, costumes and alter-egos including Harajuku Barbie, Roman Zolanski and Onika (her real name) who we will reportedly come across on her upcoming album.

Ms Minaj has generated a buzz around herself in the past 12 months after signing to Lil Wayne-endorsed Young Money Entertainment (which also boasts Drake and Jay Sean on its roster) and also has attracted over a million Twitter followers to boot. She’s proven her rapping ability and nutty nature over the last few years on a number of mixtapes and a Young Money group album, and now wants to show off her wider musical ability through her own debut LP, Pink Friday.

I did a double take at my radio recently whilst listening to a prestigious London Hip Hop and RnB station, as randomly, I heard a sample from an old Annie Lennox tune resonating from the speakers… Then the autotune-lilted lyrics kicked in, moving into the catchy chorus and then a familiar-sounding rap voice on the verse – Nicki is certainly mixing her style up on current US single Your Love. It’s a far cry from edgier predecessor Massive Attack in terms of sound and image but I think this might be the gentler track that could introduce her nicely to the UK mainstream market too, before she cranks the hip hop hardness back up again.

My favourite three collaborations of hers that I’ve come across include: Sean Kingston’s Letting Go (Dutty Love), Usher’s naughty Lil Freak and what is bound to be a smash at this year’s Notting Hill carnival, the remix of Gyptian’s Hold Yuh. Nicki admits ‘I take pride in making my 16 bars spectacular’ and just ‘let’s the magic happen’. Amen.

Nicki with some of the Young Money Crew at the BET Awards 2010 © PA ImagesLittle Nicki is doing big things in 2010. To add to her success she’s looking forward with an MTV VMA best new artist nomination after bagging two BET awards already, a Billboard Rap Chart number one with Your Love (the first by an unaccompanied female rapper since Missy Elliott over eight years ago) and the anticipation of millions for Pink Friday which is due for release in the US in November. Luckily she has her Young Money crew and Lil Weezy to keep her grounded as she launches into bonafide solo stardom.


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