By Kathy Iandoli
On November 22, Nicki Minaj released her debut album Pink Friday, complimented by her long-awaited response to Lil’ Kim’s verbal jabs.
“She just really jumped out the window,” Nicki said during the Hot 97 interview, regarding Kim’s previous comments. “You gotta be careful when you pick fights. That’s what I’ve learned in this business; you just never know. I think people get me mistaken for a real Barbie. They forget where I’m from, and if I have to revert back, I can and I will. So don’t play with me.”
Lil’ Kim was less than kind when talking about Nicki as well, threatening to “erase her social security number” and kill her career with “her catalog.” Then on November 25, the Queen Bee released “Black Friday,” a reaction to Minaj’s “Roman’s Revenge,” where Kim calls Barbie a “Kim clone clown.”
So, when Pink Friday hit shelves, fans naturally began to compare Kim’s 1996 debut LP Hardcore to Minaj’s first effort since #teamminaj and #teamkim are already taking sides. To clarify, RapFix does not take sides, only facilitate the discussion. In accordance, here are five things that each album has that the other may not and vice versa. Think the RapFix list is fair? Are there a few missing pointers for either album? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Five Things Hardcore Has That Pink Friday Lacks
1. Notorious B.I.G.
Any album that has the soul of Notorious B.I.G. whispering through its tracks is a classic. Rap fans lost Biggie too soon, and Hardcore arrived just as the MC hit the brink of super stardom with Kim as his protégé. Not to mention, Biggie co-wrote many of the songs on Hardcore, so those are his words with Kim’s delivery. What a combo!
2. Diddy … When He Was Puff Daddy
Despite previous hits with Junior M.A.F.I.A. like “Player’s Anthem” and “Need You Tonight,” Kim’s big debut really happened with “No Time.” The seductive track proved Kim was on the forefront of hip-hop while repping for the ladies. Puff was just enough hype man mixed with a bit of rapper at the time, adding the perfect compliment to “No Time.”
3. Lil’ Kim’s Raw Delivery
What Lil’ Kim lacked in pen skills, she made up tenfold in delivery. In the film “Notorious,” Biggie trained Kim to spit fire and sex all in one bar. He must’ve been the best teacher on the block, because Kim’s flow on her debut album truly can only be described as Hardcore.
Lil’ Kim had three power player MCs on Hardcore (sorry, Cease) back when each man was just beginning his road to stardom. In addition to Big and Diddy, Jay-Z appeared on “Big Momma Thang,” Kim’s female battle cry, and his verse is such a contrast to the Hov fans know now. Still, there’s no one like Jay, and while Nicki got to trade bars with him on “Monster,” Jigga’s not a guest on Pink Friday.
If the aughts are dedicated to the Illuminati, then the late 90s were dedicated to the mob. Three-piece suits and feathered hats ruled hip-hop videos and were paired with guns tucked into suitcases lined with dollar bills. Kim was definitely a fan of mafia-isms and most of her designer name drops came from that “La Dolce Vita” (aka The Sweet Life) mantra that many rappers embraced then. Of course, the Queen wasn’t without the nitty gritty drug talk and dumping bodies either, as she “carried the work across states for the gentlemen.” Like she said in Hardcore’s “M.A.F.I.A. Land,” “Right hands wash the left hands / Loyalty’s priority in this fam.” In her own life, Kim took the fall for several men in her camp and served hard time. Who’s tougher than the Queen Bee?
Five Things Pink Friday Has That Hardcore Lacks
1. Nicki’s Pen Game
At the very least, Nicki Minaj co-wrote every song on Pink Friday. Guided by Biggie, Kim might have followed the steps Big laid out for her, and that adds a bit of a different dimension to the LPs. Pink Friday is a personal work because Nicki penned it herself and it’s fair to say that rap fans got to know Kimberly Jones a bit more after her first album.
2. Pink Friday’s Kid-Friendly—For The Most Part
Nicki began her career spitting some pretty graphic lyrics with press photos to match—specifically her salute of Kim’s salacious open-leg Hardcore promo pose. Then in 2009, Nicki decided that she wanted her younger fans to be able to attend her concerts and she progressively cleaned up her act. Pink Friday may have some profanity, but it can be played in mixed company without having anyone reaching for their Bible or earmuffs. Hardcore, well, the title speaks for itself.
3. Kanye West
Now in all fairness, there’s no way Kanye could’ve been featured on Hardcore because he was still a teenager, most likely living in Chicago at the time. On the other hand, Nicki wouldn’t have been able to get a Biggie verse either, so fair is fair. ’Ye and Nicki on the track “Blazin’” is quite the divine pairing, plus who can ever argue with a sample from “The Breakfast Club“?
4. A Good Number of Bonus Tracks
Technology (and a notable boost in album sales) prompted Minaj’s camp to release Pink Friday with multiple tracks, depending on where fans purchase the album, from iTunes to Best Buy. So while Hard Core gave fans a few remixes with “Crush On You” and “Ladies Night,” compile the Nicki’s bouns tracks and Barbies have an entire Pink EP.
5. Nicki Sings
Nicki Minaj as the ability to sing, well. Her debut album may be filled with pop tracks, but it also has a healthy balance of rhyming and singing. Songs like “Save Me,” “Moment 4 Life,” “Right Thru Me” and “Your Love” show the Queens native’s vocal chops as a one-woman show boasting lyrics and keys.
Which album do you like better, Lil’ Kim’s Hardcore or Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!