Nicki Minaj has had quite the weekend. First came "Check It Out," a Buggles-sampling, will.i.am-featuring slice of zaniness that seems destined for Pink Friday, her long-gestating debut LP, currently due on November 23. Then came a marriage announcement via from fellow Young Money rapper Drake, which Minaj quickly confirmed, then annulled. And then, finally, there was "Monster," the latest mega-single from Kanye West, featuring Minaj, Rick Ross, Bon Iver, and Jay-Z. Faced with pretty much the stiffest competition rap can muster in 2010, Nicki murdered all of them--her schizophrenic, endless verse is the runaway highlight of song that would otherwise be entirely forgettable (you're a ghoul, Jay? Really?).
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And that's pretty much Minaj's signature in 2010: blistering guest verses that salvage lackluster songs from artists as unreliable as Robin Thicke, Ludacris, and Usher. What she hasn't been able to do, including on "Check It Out," is headline a particularly convincing song of her own. With every insanely virtuosic guest verse, anticipation for Pink Friday rises. But we may have to start getting used to the idea that this is as good as it's going to get. Nicki's a great rapper. But it doesn't seem likely that she has a great album in her. Here's why:More »