Nicki Minaj has been the undisputed queen of rap for over 15 years. First bursting onto the scene in 2007 as part of Lil Wayne’s iconic supergroup Young Money, the world wasn’t ready for Nicki Minaj when she first arrived. Hip-hop had seen its fair share of female MCs, but none like her. She was theatric, colourful and kooky and instilled a sense of fun into an excessively aggressive culture in dire need of positivity.
For decades Minaj has managed to toe the line between pop and rap successfully and, as such, has acquired a broad range of fans small children to adults of all colours and creeds. This is a rare feat, and due to her genre-fusing capabilities, the Queens native has remained unparalleled in her dominion. The year 2017 was significant for Minaj as it marked a decade since she signed with Lil Wayne and saw Cardi B open the floodgates of female rap. Following this, we have seen an unfathomable influx of ladies in the culture. However, this can’t erase the cold fact that the ‘Super Bass’ rapper shouldered an entire faction of the scene for over ten years.
Although fans of rap music revere Minaj on a global scale, that’s not to say she didn’t have slip-ups in her career. Her 2012 pop detour saw her receive severe backlash, and her outspoken New York attitude has landed her in hot water more than once. However, strangely enough, her ‘rough around the edges,’ only made her more loveable. In 2018, the ‘Starships’ musician released her studio album Queen. This was Minaj’s last recording compiled solely of original material. In August of last year, Minaj released her first greatest hits album, Queen Radio: Volume 1. To many, this would indicate that Minaj is attempting to see her way out of the music industry.
Although the Pinkprint act is pretty quiet nowadays, that’s not to say that she’s not relevant, and people still look to her for interviews and are still interested in her. That said, we have looked back on Nicki’s career and below have compiled a list of her top five music videos. Take a look at our picks to see if you agree.
The five best Nicki Minaj music videos:
5. ‘Beez In The Trap’ ft 2 Chainz (2012)
‘Beez In The Trap’ was released as the third single for Nicki’s car-crash 2012 album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. This hardcore trap track featuring 2 Chainz debuted at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 and took a backseat to ‘Starships’ on the album. However, the music video for the track is extremely well executed. Directed by Benny Boom, the video was nominated for ‘Best Hip-Hop Video’ at the 2012 VMA’s but didn’t quite clinch the award.
The video and track are both highly influenced by Southern strip club culture and features cameos from Memphis musician Jessica Dime and former Miami dancer Tip Drill. With sparse production from Kenoe, the track is eerie yet exciting.
4. ‘Chun-Li’ (2018)
In 2018, Minaj geared up to release her studio album Queen after her four-year hiatus. Although Minaj had appeared on songs such as ‘Motorsport’ by Migos and ‘You Da Baddest’ by Future, she had not released any solo material since her 2014 album The Pinkprint. As she returned after four years, she made quite the comeback. Not only did she come back with her own radio show, but she also came back appearing on podcasts with people such as Joe Budden.
‘Chun-Li’ was the lead single of Queen. Strangely enough, Nicki released two videos for this track. and even released footage of herself writing the lyrics following a tweet from her ex-boyfriend Safaree Samuels declaring she used ghostwriters. The first set of visuals fans got was a vertical iPhone-filmed, promotional video. However, the official video is far better. Aesthetically borrowing from Japanese culture, the track’s name is a reference to the female Street Fighter character Chun-Li.
3. ‘Massive Attack’ (2010)
This track is a tricky one and has a messy backstory. When Minaj was curating her major-label debut album rollout, she was a huge fan of the song ‘Massive Attack.’ Produced by and featuring Sean Garrett, the beat is menacing and boasts a catchy hook. However, it’s not hit material. Unfortunately, Minaj insisted it was her lead single. Still, the song got omitted from the album due to the single’s underwhelming commercial performance.
Still, by then, Minaj had already recorded the high-budget video. The song failed to hit the Billboard Hot 100. However, it’s safe to say that the video is absolutely amazing and a personal favourite. Talking to MYV News about the video in 2010, Minaj stated, “I didn’t want to shoot the typical new-artist vision. Thank God I have a wonderful label that stands behind me and my vision.”
The visuals for ‘Massive Attack’ were directed by the legendary Hype Williams and feature a cameo by model Amber Rose .
2. ‘Anaconda’ (2018)
One of Nicki’s most infamous videos, ‘Anaconda’ is somewhat contentious. Akin to Cardi B’s visuals for ‘WAP’, ‘Anaconda’ polarised public opinion concerning its portrayal of women. Some viewed it as empowering, while many saw it as degrading and excessively sexual. Unsurprisingly it received a lot of flack but accrued views nonetheless. The video received 19.6million views within 24 hours of its upload to YouTube.
In a 2020 interview with Irving Azzoff for Pollstar, when the Queens act was asked if there was any song she regretted making, she replied, “I wish I never recorded Anaconda! I like the video but ughh!” In an interview with Complex about the song and its video, Minaj “That whole song, I was just being dumb. It was a joke.” When grilled the sexual imagery, Minaj explained, “I wanted to create a song that embraced curvy women.” Drake also makes a cameo in this iconic video which now has over 1 billion views.
1. ‘Super Bass’ (2010)
One of Minaj’s biggest tracks, ‘Super Bass’ cemented her as a credible artist capable of producing hits. Released as the fifth single for her debut album Pink Friday, ‘Super Bass’ debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and was so successful it is currently a diamond-certified single, meaning it is over 12 times platinum. Although the song’s sonics are fantastic, the music video for the track is also exceptional.
In 2010 MTV News went behind the scenes of the ‘Super Bass’ music video and interviewed Minaj about it. Elaborating on why she chose to make the aesthetic of her video pink and colourful, Minaj stated, “I just wanted to do something real colourful and cutesy. This is an icy world, it’s a sexy world, it’s a playful world. Of course, I have lots of eye candy for my girls and my boys.”
‘Super Bass’ won the ‘Best Hip-Hop Music Video’ award at the 2011 VMA’s. It also received an accolade for ‘Best Video’ at the Billboard Music Awards.