Sometimes Nicki Minaj is a Top 40 popstress. Other days, she's the premier female rapper in hip-hop. Today, she's both — Minaj has dropped a pair of tracks from April 3's Pink Friday 2: Roman Reloaded that showcase those very different sides of her personality. For the former, there's "Right By My Side" with Chris Brown, which finds Nicki in full-on Rihanna mode, right down to turning simple syllables and repeated vowels into irresistible hooks. (The song also bears a striking resemblance to Riri's turn on "Live Your Life.") For those of us who prefer Nicki's rhymes to her singing prowess, there's "Beez in the Trap," which is arguably her purest (and best) hip-hop track since her mixtape era. Ironically, Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" is probably the closest reference point for "Beez" thanks to its extremely minimal drum-and-bass production, but instead of Breezy, Minaj shares the track with up-and-coming Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz.
It's hard to play favorites with two songs that couldn't be less alike, since "Right By My Side" will more than satisfy those Minaj fans that constantly play and replay "Super Bass," while "Beez in the Trap" will resonate with those who think Nicki's verse on Kanye's "Monster" was the pinnacle of her career. However, both seem to prove that Minaj has avoided the dreaded sophomore slump. Get our hip-hop blogger's take on "Beez in the Trap," too!
"Right By My Side" (featuring Chris Brown)
"Beez in the Trap" (featuring 2 Chainz)