Nicki Minaj Pink Friday 2 Review: Less a Sequel Than an Identity Crisis

Throughout the album, which clocks in at one hour and 10 minutes, Minaj lets herself be overshadowed by the sounds and styles of her featured guests. “Let Me Calm Down,” featuring J. Cole, feels completely derivative of the North Carolina rapper’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive, while Drake gets more airtime on “Needle” than Minaj herself. Even when Pink Friday 2 homes in on some catchy or indelible moments, like on the solo “Fallin 4 U,” things tend to slip into a sugary pop-R&B groove reminiscent of newer artists like Doja Cat and SZA.

This is most evident in Pink Friday 2’s choice of samples. On opener “Are You Gone Already,” Minaj raps over a sped-up snippet of Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over,” a song that delivers a poignant sentiment about the death of the singer’s father. That emotional impact is overshadowed here by the track’s lazy, TikTok-inspired production. Elsewhere, Minaj raps seamlessly over a sample of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” but a similar strategy on the skeletal “My Life,” which uses a high-pitched snippet of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” adds little to the track and leaves it sounding muddy and unfinished.

Despite some catchy moments, there’s almost nothing about Pink Friday 2 that makes it stand out from the current slate of pop and rap music. Unlike its predecessor, the album doesn’t leave much of an impression, and certainly won’t reshape the hip-hop landscape.