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The 11 best Nicki Minaj songs

With Wireless and a World Tour both inbound this summer, it's time to rank the best 11 tracks from The Queen Of Rap

Nicki Minaj exists in two realms. First is the neon pop superstar whose cartoon-like persona reigns over a world of bass-heavy EDM, wildly OTT accents and pink candy canes. The other is the slick and unforgiving New York City rapper whose bars are as sharp as the nails on her immaculately manicured fingers. 

This duality has propelled Minaj to the top of the music world, as respected by her hip hop peers as she is a mainstay on wedding disco playlists. She has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making her not just the biggest-selling female rapper of all time but one of the biggest-selling rappers in history. Her latest album, Pink Friday 2, arrived in 2023 some thirteen years after the first instalment. In the interim period Minaj has worked with everyone from Beyoncé and Drake to Kim Petras and Little Mix. 

With the album out now and a world tour coming to the UK and Ireland soon – including a headline slot at this Wireless festival 2024 – it’s time to celebrate Nicki Minaj’s best songs.

Nicki Minaj - Starships (Explicit) (Official Video)

11. ‘Starships’

(Pink Friday… Roman Reloaded, 2012)

The early 2010s were a time of glowsticks and champagne as VIP club culture made its way into the pop world. ‘Starships’ is one of the enduring artifacts of EDM’s time in the spotlight; a garish but undeniably fun song with a whacking great bassline built for dancefloor destruction.  

10. ‘Itty Bitty Piggy’

(Beam Me Up Scotty, 2009)

Before she was a global superstar, Minaj was a hard-boiled street rapper from The Bronx. ‘Itty Bitty Piggy’ is a highlight from her debut mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, and one of the first indications that the rap world was about to be flipped on its head by an uncompromising new voice as fierce as she was playful.

Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice – Barbie World (with Aqua) [Official Music Video]

9. ‘Barbie World’

(Barbie The Album, 2023)

An artist whose fans are affectionately known as the Barbz simply had to be on the Barbie soundtrack. ‘Barbie World’ unites Minaj with Ice Spice, a new-gen New York rapper that came from the same world Minaj helped to create. Built around a sample of Aqua’s song of the same name, ‘Barbie World’ is bright, bouncy, shiny, and all round good fun. Plastic and fantastic. 

8. ‘Pills N Potions’

(The Pinkprint, 2014)

Perhaps disguised by her various beefs and the characters she often adopts is the fact that Minaj is an artist who isn’t afraid to get vulnerable. ‘Pills N Potions’ is filled with anger and heartbreak as Minaj talks about using alcohol and other substances to numb herself from a failing relationship. “I get high off your memory,” she sings with a palpable feeling of loss in her voice. 

Nicki Minaj - Pills N Potions

7. ‘Anaconda’

(The Pinkprint, 2014)

‘Anaconda’ is Minaj, a supremely talented sex rapper, showboating for the court. She recalls past lovers, brags about her own prowess in the bedroom, and advertises her own rear end in a deliriously X-rated song that has absolutely nothing to do with snakes. She even gets the line, “He toss my salad like his name Romaine…” A linguistic pioneer.  

6. ‘Super Freaky Girl’

(Pink Friday 2, 2023)

‘Super Freaky Girl’ is breathlessly filthy and, thanks to a Rick James sample, a dancefloor-filler. After years of flip-flopping between the two, this is the sound of Minaj marrying her heavy spitting and radio-friendly styles together seamlessly. 

Nicki Minaj - Super Freaky Girl (Official Music Video)

5. ‘Feeling Myself’

(The Pinkprint, 2014)

When it comes to underrated rappers, Beyoncé’s name is often raised as a contender for the – and it’s mostly because of this track. Obviously, she’s not primarily known for hip hop but ‘Feeling Myself’ is a reminder that she can go just as hard as husband Jay-Z (or any of her male peers for that measure) when she wants to. It’s clear that Minaj acted as a perfect foil as the pair combine on a song to play loud whenever you need a little extra confidence. 

4. ‘Moment 4 Life’

(Pink Friday, 2010)

Minaj and Drake broke through around the same time, with both artists emerging as proteges of Lil Wayne and his Young Money label. They joined forces on this early collaboration and, even in her days as a rookie, Minaj was a self-assured presence. “I will retire with the crown,” she raps at one point. “No, I’m not lucky, I’m blessed.” Her mega-stardom was never in doubt. 

Nicki Minaj - Moment 4 Life (Remastered) (Official Video) ft. Drake

3. ‘Endless Fashion’

(Pink Tape, 2023)

Minaj has never been afraid to experiment and jump on different styles and trends over the years. Her highly structured and densely-written verses might not seem like a natural fit for the more impressionistic Lil Uzi Vert and yet ‘Endless Fashion,’ taken from Uzi’s 2023 album, Pink Tape, is a refreshingly exhilarating moment for both artists. Built around a warped sample of eurodance group Eiffel 65’s ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’, it introduced Minaj to a new generation of rap fans and pushed Uzi to up his lyrical game. 

2. ‘Beez In The Trap’

(Pink Friday… Roman Reloaded, 2012)

On a purely technical level, ‘Beez In The Trap’ deserves to be Nicki Minaj’s calling card. Rapping tirelessly over a beat that sounds like digital dripping water, the Pink Friday… Roman Reloaded standout is a self-belief anthem with Minaj making it clear nobody is operating on her level. There’s a rare degree of restraint in her voice but the message is clear; stand back because nobody from Texas to Staten Island is swinging as hard as she is. 

Nicki Minaj - Beez In The Trap (Explicit) ft. 2 Chainz

1. ‘Monster’

(My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010)

The moment Minaj recorded the verse starting “Pull up in the monster, automobile gangsta”, it was over for the rest of the competition. This may be a Kanye West song but nobody would argue it belongs to anyone but Minaj. As she says herself, “You could be the king, but watch the queen conquer.” 

Nicki Minaj brings her Pink Friday 2 World Tour to the UK and Ireland in May, returning again in June to headline Rockstar Energy Presents Wireless festival. Find tickets here.