Nicki Minaj

“Blazin'” [feat. Kanye West]

Young Money

After a dizzying run of electrifying guest vocals over the past year, Nicki Minaj was poised for one of the best debut albums of this year.  However, Pink Friday too often forgets that it was her wacky voices and insane raps — not her Auto-Tuned singing — that made her so likable in the first place.  “Blazin'” blends the best of both: Minaj channeling Lady GaGa on the chorus, while commanding the track with her frantic rhymes on the verses.  Kanye West pops up for a verse that, in typical Kanye fashion, drops a flurry of pop culture references from Nolan Ryan to Chariots of Fire.  The beat layers a  flurry of 80’s synths and vocal screams sampled from Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” that allows Minaj’s voice to shine.  But despite all her missteps in singing, when the beat drops and she raps acapella, “How could it be little me had the power to be/The best B in the league, yeah, inevitably,” it’s hard not to believe her.