Make no mistake: Nicki Minaj is an MC through and through.
For as many chart-toppers as the femme fatale has in her catalog, she has the rap bars to match it. On her latest LP, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, the Queens, New York, spitter balances pop tunes with some gritty-sounding tracks, thanks to producers like G.O.O.D. Music’s in-house weapon Hit-Boy.
By contributing both “Come on a Cone” and the Rick Ross and Cam’ron-assisted “I Am Your Leader,” Hit-Boy provided the perfect sound beds for Nicki to spew her venom. Without ever having a conversation with Nick about a specific vibe, somehow Hit-Boy knew just what she needed for her bipolar Roman Reloaded.
Landing the kinetic “Come on a Cone” on the LP was pretty simple, if you let the West Coast hitmaker tell it. “I kind of did these records [and] just blindly sent her some beats. It was out of the first batch of beats that I sent,” Hit-Boy told MTV News on Thursday of “Cone.”
Initially, the bass-heavy, space-age track didn’t suit Nicki’s needs, but it was an easy fix. “The tempo was a bit slower so she was like, ’Can you speed this up?’ I sped it up, and she hit me back like, ’Yo, this is crazy, I’m writing to it,’ and [she] just kept having me send beats,” he said.
It’s been an eventful week for Hit-Boy, who saw both Roman Reloaded and his and Kanye West’s “Theraflu” released this week. On the new Pink Friday, both Hit-Boy-produced tracks land in sequential order, so right after “Come On a Cone” comes “I Am Your Leader.”
Rapping alongside Ross and Cam’ron, Nicki once again proves she can go toe-to-toe with hip-hop’s big boys. She would not be outdone. “Nunchuck her, no time to duck her/ Sign of the cross ’cause this is her last supper,” she spits to an unnamed competitor.
The “N—as in Paris” producer wasn’t in the studio when the reigning rap queen recorded to his selections, but after hearing the finished product, he was impressed with her performance. “I just went in blindly, I just sent beats, which is like the stars aligning,” he said. “She picked the right joints and blacked out on them.”
To celebrate the release of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, we’re examining the “Evolution of Nicki Minaj” throughout the week. Check MTV News every day to see how the Southside Jamaica, Queens, Barbie went from a promising mixtape standout to rap’s reigning queen.