By Tanner Stransky
Updated December 20, 2019 at 04:48 AM EST
Credit: GL Wood


Rapper Nicki Minaj’s much-anticipated big-label debut, Pink Friday, hit retailers yesterday, at the beginning of one of the biggest shopping—and music release heavy—weeks of the year. (EW just reviewed the disc here on The Music Mix.) It turns out Thanksgiving week’s consumer culture was part of the inspiration behind the effort’s title. “We named it Pink Friday because it comes out the week of Black Friday,” she tells EW. “It’s girly girl meets crazy, psychotic lunatic meets mix tapes. I think all of those things are represented on Pink Friday.” Besides the nod to Black Friday, the album is also brimming with rap’s biggest and brightest stars. Here, Minaj takes us behind three of her favorite tracks on Pink Friday, a trio of collaborations with Kanye West, Rihanna, and Eminem.

“Blazin” with Kanye West: “‘Blazin” is one of those where you want to let your hair down, feel a little lifted, and just ride out into the night. It’s a more subdued track, and I love the beat. The beat takes me somewhere. I remember playing it for Kanye in the studio, and Kanye started free-styling to the beat right then and there, off the top of his head. I knew his voice was going to sound insane on that particular track, and it brought out a little street edge in me as well. It gave me a platform for things that I needed to say. It’s one of those records that puts you in a peaceful state of tranquility. But it’s hood at the same time.”

“Fly” with Rihanna: “I’m telling you that you’re going to be obsessed with that song. ‘Fly’ represents every woman in the world who is trying to fly, who is determined to soar high, who is like, ‘I don’t care what I’ve been through, what you said, how much you ridicule me, I’ve come to fly.’ And when Rihanna heard it—because I told her I wrote a beautiful song—she was like, ‘Oh my God, this song is beautiful,’ and that’s the description people use when they hear it. It’s one of those records everyone is going to identify with. I was proud to do it with Rihanna, because I felt that putting Rihanna on it, as opposed to a guy, makes it more powerful. Girl power, so to speak. You know what I mean? I’m really, really proud of that song. A guy could have sang the hook, but having Rihanna on it just takes it to another level.”

“Roman’s Revenge” with Eminem: “We never met to make this record together. We just kept on going back and forth. When my stuff was done, I sent it to Em, and then he did his, and he sent his verse back. I did my second verse, which was already written, and I sent that back, and he did his second verse and sent that back. Then I added my outro, which was Roman’s mother Martha talking to the boys Shady and Roman. It was a big back and forth, but every time we would send it back and forth, we would get on the phone and talk.”

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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