To listen to Nicki Minaj’s new album Queen, click here.
Nicki Minaj released her fourth album, Queen, on August 1o. Minaj originally announced a release date of June 15, but revealed to fans in a May 24 livestream that she had pushed the album back to August 10. On August 1, she announced that a sample clearance issue would hold up the record until August 17, but on August 9 she reversed course and announced the album would arrive on digital platforms August 10, as previously scheduled. Amazon currently lists an August 17 date for the physical release.
It’s been almost four years since Minaj’s previous album, The Pinkprint, and after a false start last year in the form of three songs released at the apex of her beef with Remy Ma, including “No Frauds,” she released two new songs in April. While “Barbie Tingz” slowly fizzled out, “Chun-Li” became one of Nicki’s biggest solo hits in years, peaking at No. 10 on the charts.
Minaj did not release a tracklist until the night before the album’s release, though “Chun Li”, “Rich Sex,” (featuring Lil Wayne) and “Bed” (featuring Ariana Grande) were confirmed to be on the record. Otherwise she held things close to the vest: During a recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, her second performance was actually Playboi Carti‘s “Poke It Out,” on which she is featured.
Here is the rest of what we know so far about Queen.
Minaj had been working on the album since late last year
During a recent Zane Lowe interview, Minaj said she began working on the album in earnest in December 2017, though some songs were written as far back as a year and a half ago. Minaj also told Lowe that an upcoming Apple Music documentary will cover the making of Queen. She’s also announced plans to invite fans to studio sessions to preview the album.
She has been working heavily with at least one relatively unknown producer
While Minaj has typically worked with big name producers like Frank Dukes, Murda Beatz, and Detail, both “Barbie Tingz” and “Chun-Li” were helmed by a producer named J. Reid. Reid, who is based in Atlanta, has previously worked with Southern rappers like Lil Boosie and Moneybagg Yo, but never with an artist of Minaj’s stature. According to an interview with XXL, Reid met Minaj through Brinx Billions, an artist in Minaj’s camp who also appeared on her 2o12 song “I Endorse These Strippers.” The two recorded in Miami and California in late 2017 and early 2018 as Queen began taking shape.
But she may also be working with big-name producers
In March, Mike Will Made-It tweeted a Mercedes commercial in which Minaj appears, and said that the two have “fire” on the way. Their history together is short but fruitful: Mike Will has only produced one solo song for Minaj—the second track off The Pinkprint, “I Lied”—but was behind several hits Minaj has been featured on, including Rae Sremmurd‘s “Throw Some Mo” and Yo Gotti‘s “Rake It Up.” Minaj also remixed Sremm’s Mike Will-produced “Black Beatles” in 2017, releasing her version as “Black Barbies.”
And some big-name singers, too
The biggest hit Minaj has appeared on in years is “Side to Side,” the Ariana Grande single produced by Max Martin that hit No. 4 on the Hot 100 back in 2016, and the duo collaborated again on Queen single “Bed,” as well as Grande’s own Sweetener single “The Light Is Coming” (both of which were teased months in advance). The Weeknd appears on Queen track “Thought I Knew You.” Minaj hinted at a “secret” with Madonna on the same red carpet where she announced her album title, but nothing appears to have come of that yet. The song including the contested Tracy Chapman sample also features a verse from “1 of the greatest rappers of all time,” Minaj tweeted. She also recently appeared on a song with rapper 6ix9ine, “FEFE.”
Queen has a lavish album cover
In June, Minaj revealed the album’s cover, featuring a photo of herself posing on a tree branch by the fashion photography duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. See it below.
— Chun-Li (@NICKIMINAJ) June 7, 2018
She’s going on tour with Future
This post has been updated with new information as of August 1o.