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Nicki Minaj on how father’s death and Drake shaped ‘Pink Friday 2’

Nicki Minaj has opened up on how Drake and the death of her father inspired her new album ‘Pink Friday 2’.

  • READ MORE: Nicki Minaj – ‘Pink Friday 2’ review: blockbuster sequel lives up to the hype

Speaking to Ebro Darden on Apple Music, Minaj discussed the inspirations behind the new album, which was released last month and features collaborations with Lil Uzi Vert, J. Cole, Drake, Billie Eilish and more.

Discussing the inspiration for the first track on the album, ‘Just The Memories’, Minaj said: “My father had just passed. So right after I had the baby, and it was during Corona, and nobody knew what was going on, so, one day, I was rocking the baby and I don’t normally have the phone on me when I’m rocking him. Because at that time, I was mad strict like, “Oh, that [radiation] is going to get in my child, don’t put the phone by my child.” So normally, I wouldn’t have it.‌

“But that day, as I’m rocking him, the phone rings, and I see it’s my father. I normally would not have picked up, because I don’t like to be on the phone with the baby there. I would’ve called him back. Something said, “Pick up the phone.” I picked up, he was very happy, and he was like, “Baby, I could come on Monday” Because he had been waiting to be able to come to Cali to help me. I kept on saying, “Come on out.” He wasn’t really happy, but I knew that, when he came be with us, we were going to be happy.”

She added: “He is this amazing, great person, who livens up the whole house. I was like, “Yes, we were going to get help.” And then, we went to bed, and sometime late, while we were all asleep, the phone rang. And it was my mother, telling me that my father was in an accident and that she didn’t know what was going to happen, and she would call me back. And then, everything started spinning, literally, because now, also, I just had my baby.

“After I had my baby was the first time in my life that I ever fainted. I never knew what it felt like to faint, but I’m already hypersensitive with everything. So to get that call, and it’s the exact replica of a call, I had in about four or five dreams, but it was the exact replica of one particular dream I had about this.”‌

Minaj went on: “I opened the album with saying, “You never got to meet papa. He sweet proper, he keep Mama on my toes.” What else I said? “You never got to meet Papa.” So I call my son Papa Bear. So I’m telling my father, “You never got to meet Papa.” And then, I begin to explain the time from my mother first calling me, telling me he was in an accident, to her calling me, telling me that he didn’t make it. So I’m like, “The waiting, the pacing, the raving.” And at the end, “I just believed you’d awaken, a memory in the making. Call me. Won’t you call me? Are you gone already?” Because I couldn’t believe so fast from accident on.”

Of her Drake collaboration ‘Needle’, and whether she was meant to appear on his latest effort ‘For All The Dogs’, Minaj explained: “Well, he told the fans at his tour that I was going to be on his album. And actually the song he was talking about was ‘Needle’. But he ended up feeling like sonically it didn’t match ‘For All The Dogs’. And I, from day one felt like it matched ‘Pink Friday 2’. But even before that, so long ago, I remember joking with Juice and I think my homeboys, I was like, yo, maybe you know what? You never know. Maybe something happens and it’ll get to be on my album. And this was probably almost a year ago.

“I first heard that song in Trinidad when I was in Trinidad for Carnival, so that was in February. And as soon as I heard it, I played it like Glam. We were there doing everything, so they heard it too. Everybody loved it and I wanted it for my album. So it was just God’s timing. He said, he asked me did I want it for my album. I was like, absolutely. So the fans were mad thinking that. But he didn’t tell them that there was a change.

“And I didn’t either. But yeah, I mean, you know what? It worked out for the best. He did also send me another song, but I wanted our next song to be just Dricki, me and him. And that is what “Needle” is. And it just makes, “Needle” is just the perfect Drake and Nicki song.”

On December 16, ‘Pink Friday 2’ debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200, becoming the Queens rapper’s fourth Number One album. This made Minaj the first female rapper to top the US album charts in 2023.

‘Pink Friday 2’ was released on December 8. NME awarded the album four stars, writing that the album “feels like a consolidation and refinement of everything Minaj can do – including dropping pop culture references that no other artist would think of… 13 years after ‘Pink Friday’, Nicki Minaj hasn’t lost her ability to catch us by surprise.”

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