Nicki Minaj has once again made history, as her long-awaited fourth studio album “Pink Friday 2” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Driven largely by streaming, the album moved 228,000 equivalent album units in the US in its first week, setting the record for the biggest first-week US sales for a female rap album this decade.
Topping the Charts After a Long Wait
The album has arrived after years of anticipation from fans. Minaj has not released a full studio album since 2018’s Queen. In the five years in between projects, she focused more on features, appeared as a judge on American Idol in 2021, launched a variety of business ventures, and remained a constant, if controversial presence on social media.
The timing couldn’t be better for Nicki. Coming 10 years after her breakthrough debut Pink Friday, the album seems poised to re-cement her status as a dominant force in hip hop while extending an ongoing career resurgence.
By the Numbers
Pink Friday 2 First Week Album Sales
|Total Units Moved
|Track Equivalent Album Units
|Physical Album Sales
As expected, streaming contributed hugely to the project’s big opening week numbers. 14 songs from the album charted on the Billboard Hot 100, led by “Super Freaky Girl” which gave Minaj her first solo #1 since 2014’s “Anaconda.”
Compared to other recent high profile rap releases, Pink Friday 2 outpaced albums from stars like Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Tyler the Creator. Nicki now sits in a tie with Missy Elliott for the female rapper with the most #1 albums.
Critical Reception and Legacy Building
So how did the Barbz respond? Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, with some calling the album Nicki’s best body of work in years.
“Pink Friday 2 represents the old Nicki and the new Nicki coalescing into one unstoppable force… She sounds fully charged, turning in some thrilling performances over lux beats..”
That take from MusicOMH captures the general sentiment around an album many feared might fail to live up to enormous expectations.
For an artist who already sits comfortably amongst the greatest female rappers ever, the commercial success further cements her status as this generation’s defining rap superstar. Pink Friday 2 represents “cementing a legacy”, according to The Fader.
What’s Next for Nicki Minaj?
So what comes next for Minaj after reaching yet another career peak?
She hinted at making Pink Friday 3 her next full album, which would set up 2024’s project as the capstone of a Pink Friday trilogy. Touring also seems imminent for an artist who remains one of music’s most in demand live performers. In fact, collaborator Foxy Brown jokingly chided Minaj for breaking her #1 albums record, while promising “Nicki and I are going to hit the road first quarter of 2024!”.
But whether soaring back to #1 marks the start of a new high point or just an exclamation point on an already legendary run, Pink Friday 2 captured the rap world’s attention from the jump, while proving Nicki Minaj’s unmatched ability to create cultural moments across a decade plus span as Hip Hop’s reigning Queen.
In summary, Nicki Minaj has done it again. The release of Pink Friday 2 is the latest testament to her status as an all-time great with few true peers. By delivering an acclaimed new album that also broke a series of Billboard chart records, Minaj shows that more than 10 years into her extraordinary career, the era of dominance is far from finished.
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