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Nicki Minaj's 15 Best Songs, Unranked

As the rap world waits for The Generous Queen's next move, VIBE scoured through Minaj's stash of classics and picked out 15 album and mixtape cuts that speak to her iron-clad track record.

The past few years have ranked as the most eventful in hip-hop, but one artist that has largely been absent from the party is Nicki Minaj. Many rap fans wondered when the Jamaica, Queens native would make her return. More than three years removed from her last studio album (The Pinkprint), Minaj has kept her name in the conversation with sporadic guest verses, but was particularly active in 2017, unleashing "No Frauds," "Changed It" and "Regret In Your Tears." She also contributed verses to high-profile collaborations alongside the Migos and Cardi B ("Motorsport"), Jason Derulo and Ty Dolla $ign ("Swalla"), Yo Gotti (“Rake It Up”) and Lil Uzi Vert ("The Way Life Goes Remix").

In spite of her succession of hits, like most kings and queens, Nicki's crown is one that's highly coveted, evidenced by her beef with fellow NYC native Remy Ma, as well as whispers of a certain Bronx upstart being her main competition for the title of rap's first lady. However, Minaj has continued to raise anticipation for her forthcoming studio-album titled Queen, whetting fans' appetites with "Chun-Li" and "Barbie Tingz." The singles find the rapstress as cocksure as ever while putting her critics and detractors on notice that her return will be one of epic proportions.

As the rap world waits for The Generous Queen's next move, VIBE scoured through Minaj's stash of classics and picked out 15 album and mixtape cuts that speak to her iron-clad track record.


1. "N***as"
Mixtape: Playtime Is Over
"This is for my ni**as that did bids/All of my ni**as that’s doin’ time for some s**t that they ain't did," Nicki spits on the dedicatory cut from her debut mixtape. The Queens native celebrates men of respect throughout the five boroughs and beyond over the triumphant track produced by No I.D. The femme fatale stays true to her roots, one of the earliest highlights in the Barbz's illustrious career.

2. "Itty Bitty Piggy"
Mixtape: Beam Me Up, Scotty
"I was on the plane with Dwayne/You can call me Whitley, I go to Hill Man/Listen, I'm the baddest in the school, the baddest in the game/Excuse me, honey, but nobody's in my lane." The vicious freestyle over Soulja Boy's "Donk" instrumental is a standout on her 2009 mixtape, Beam Me Up, Scotty. Showing the brash confidence fit for the superstar she would soon become, Nicki takes on all contenders with this classic selection that predates her ascent into the mainstream.

3. "Click Clack"
Mixtape: Playtime Is Over
This fan favorite from the Trini beauty's 2007 mixtape ranks amongst her most impressive performances. "They call me Nicolas, style defined as ridiculous," Nicki barks over the beat from Slim Thug and Pusha T's 2005 collaboration of the same name. Listen below as she lays down a pair of stanzas filled with witty punchline and filthy one-liners that make "Click Clack" one of the more rewind-worthy performances she's put forth to date.

4. "Warning"
Mixtape: Playtime Is Over
Queens meets Brooklyn when Nicki tackles the instrumental to The Notorious B.I.G.'s classic Ready to Die cut "Warning." Spinning her own tale of betrayal and deceit among her circle of lovers and friends, the Playtime is Over track and its music video helped ignite the rapstress' street buzz, making it a landmark moment in her career.

5. "Feeling Myself"
Album: The Pinkprint
The reigning queens of hip-hop and R&B made one of the bigger moves of the decade when Nicki and Beyonce joined forces for "Feeling Myself." Produced by Hit-Boy, the track peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100, achieving double-platinum status. The song also became a signature collaboration in Nicki's catalog of hits.

6. "Stupid H**"
Album: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Nicki Minaj goes for the jugular on "Stupid H**," a DJ Diamond Kuts-produced diss track aimed at Lil Kim. In spite of the song being inspired by her bitter feud with the Queen B, "Stupid H**" became a minor release for Minaj, peaking at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 - a testament to her prowess as a hit-maker, even when in a confrontational state-of-mind.

7. "Only"
Album: The Pinkprint
Young Money's Big Three calls in Chris Brown for added reinforcement on a blockbuster track that finds Minaj in a battle of the sexes. On the Cirkut, JMIKE and Dr. Luke-produced track, Nicki rhymes: "Yo! I never fu**ed Wayne, I never fu**ed Drake, on my life, man, f**k's sake/If I did, I'd ménage with em and let em eat my a** like a cupcake," playfully shutting down rumors of a love triangle within the Young Money family. Nicki's fourth chart-topper on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart made her the first female rap artist to achieve that feat.

8. "Roman's Revenge"
Album: The Pinkprint
Nicki tests her sword against one of the greatest lyricists of all-time in a sparring session with Eminem on this high-powered collaboration. Doing their bidding over a jittery backdrop provided by Swizz Beatz, Shady and Roman go bonkers, with the latter using her last verse to send a few jabs in the direction of a certain Brooklyn rap diva.

9. "Truffle Butter"
Album: The Pinkprint
Nicki breaks bread with her Young Money brethren on "Truffle Butter," a catchy party-starter featuring Lil Wayne and Drake. Produced by Nineteen85 and powered by a sample of Maya Jane Coles' "What They Say," "Truffle Butter peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received a nomination for Best Rap Performance at the 58th Grammy Awards, making it one of Minaj's most commercially-successful and acclaimed hits thus far.

10. "Did It On Em"
Album: Pink Friday
"All these bit**es is my sons," Minaj declares on this scathing number that finds her serving up a heaping amount of disrespect. Delivering a trio of verses filled with greasy-talk, Minaj rises to the occasion in a big way. The signature Bangladesh banger from her grab-bag of hits finds her as cocksure as ever.

11. "Right Thru Me"
Album: Pink Friday
Matters of the heart get addressed on this song that finds Minaj flexing her talents as a singer in addition to her rhyme skills. Produced by Drew Money, "Right Thru Me" peaked at No. 4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and achieved gold-certification. It also became an essential addition to any list of her definitive classics.

12. "Your Love"
Album: Pink Friday
After making her presence felt on the mixtape circuit and as part of the Young Money collective, Nicki stepped out on her own with "Your Love." Produced by Pop & Oak and peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, the hit features a prominent sample of Annie Lennox's cover of "No More I Love You's." Here, Nicki shares rapping and vocal duties, a trend that continues throughout her career.

13. "Super Bass"
Album: Pink Friday
Of the multiple hits that Minaj's debut album produced, "Super Bass" is the most successful and the one that would solidify her as an international superstar. Produced by Kane Beatz, the track may have been a change of pace for the Barb's fans that were more familiar with her mixtape material. However, it ended up becoming a runaway hit, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling over five million copies in the U.S. alone.

14. "I Get Crazy"
Mixtape: Beam Me Up, Scotty
Out of all of Nicki's mixtape material, the one song that would alter the trajectory of her career was this standout track. Featuring a guest verse from Lil Wayne and produced by Ron Browz, "I Get Crazy" introduced the hip-hop populous to Nicki Lewinski and foreshadowed her eventual induction into the Young Money family.

15. "Moment 4 Life"
Album: Pink Friday
Popularly known for energetic club bangers and syrupy rap ballads, Nicki's finest performances usually arrive when she's in an introspective state, a space she occupies on this T-Minus-produced song. The inspirational number finds Nicki reminiscent of her humble upbringing and basking in her newfound success and fortune. Featuring an electric guest spot from Drake, "Moment 4 Life" became Nicki's first song as a lead-artist to top the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and was nominated for Best Rap Performance at the 2012 Grammy Awards, making it an invaluable piece in her legacy as one of rap's all-time greats.

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CIRCA 1980: Photo of Bill Withers
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Bill Withers' Greatest Hits: Remixed, Sampled And Covered

The recent loss of legends in jazz, soul and classical music have saddened the music industry and reminded us of their touching gifts to music. The passing of Manu Dibango, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Alan Merrill brought endless tributes from peers and fans with the recent loss of soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers doing the same.

With a mirage of hits, the iconic songwriter left his mark on music with the release of his debut album Just As I Am in 1971. "Ain't No Sunshine" put a spotlight on his songwriting while 1977's "Lovely Day" reminded the industry of his signature vocals. Withers released eight studio albums, one live album and garnered three Grammys for his powerful songs that gave hope and love to fans to this day.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained the most from Withers as his music went on to inspire records like "No Diggity" by BLACKStreet, "Roses" by Kanye West and other songs from UGK, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott and more.

Take a look at some of Withers' finest tunes covered, remixed and sampled below.


8. “Lovely Day” | Menagerie (1977)

Sampled On: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999) LunchMoneyLewis - “It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day” feat. Aminè | Pets 2 Soundtrack (2019) Swizz Beatz - “Take A Picture” |One Man Band (2007)

Standout: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999)

Short for "The Whole Damn Yay," the group used Withers' sample while throwing a splash of The Bay's laid back flavor. With cameos from future legends like E-40 and Ray Luv, the single already embodied the best of R&B and hip-hop with guest verses from Too Short, Mac Mall and Otis & Shug. The mimosas and yacht are also a great touch.

Covered By: Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault Vol. 1 (2011) Alt-J, This Is All Yours (2014) Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 (2013) Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Standout: Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Who was going to beat a chorus singing to the lordt? Franklin's take on the classic gives us stirring gospel and appreciation for Withers and God. There are plenty of covers that have lifted the same vocals as Withers, but the ones listed have put their unique spin on the track.

7. “Ain't No Sunshine” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001) Lil B - “Up And Down” | Based Jam (2012) 2Pac- "Soulja's Story" |  2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Standout: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001)

"No Sunshine" served as the only single from DMX's film alongside Steven Seagal, which gave everyone the perfect backdrop to the movie and X's intricate storytelling. Both the original and flipped version points out the dark elements of our lives. Withers penned the song after watching the film 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses, he pondered over the toxicity in his life. "Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you," he said in 2004 to SongFacts. "It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Covered By: Soul For Real | Candy Rain (1994) Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972) The Boris Gardiner Happening | Is What's Happening (1973) The Temptations | Solid Rock (1972)

Standout: Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972)

At 14, the future King of Pop gave a riveting cover of Withers' hit for his debut album, Got To Be There. From his vocal control throughout the track to the instrumentation, his cover takes the song to another level of heartbreak.

6. "Grandma's Hands” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996) Big K.R.I.T. - “I Gotta Stay” | K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) Brother Ali - “Waheedah's Hands” | Champion (2004)

Standout: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996)

R&B heads are well aware of BLACKstreet's neverending ballads and the genius of Teddy Riley. But the pivot of their sound for their sophomore album Another Level was due to Withers and the William “Stylez” Stewart. Speaking to Fact Mag in 2017, the creator of New Jack Swing gave credit to Stylez for bringing him the sample of "Grandma's Hands."

“If he hadn’t played that sample for me, there would never be a ‘No Diggity’ And if he didn’t write it according to the melody I gave him so it would sound that way because I wanted it to sound funky,” he said. “I wanted it to be appealing to everyone, but mostly to women. I wanted every woman to feel like they were the ‘No Diggity’ girl and that song was about them and it came across. And now, still, today, that song plays and people are on that dancefloor.”

Covered By: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981) Merry Clayton, Merry Clayton (1971) Barbra Streisand, Butterfly (1974)

Standout: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981)

Gil Scott-Heron's version of the soul classic reminded us of his versatile talents. From spoken word to his vocal abilities, the Godfather of rap music always came through with his own sound and style. Reflections was one of four albums the late artist dropped in the 80s with critics looking to it as one of his finest projects. Other cuts from the album included "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and "B Love."

5. "Use Me" | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012) J. Cole- "Dollar And A Dream II" | The Warm-Up (2009) Leela James - “So Good" | Fall For You (2014) UGK - "Use Me Up" | The Southern Way (1992)

Standout: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012)

Lamar's take on "Use Me" blended right into the themes of his debut album, Good kid, Maad City allowing the artist to create another world on the project. To make things even better, Lamar also sampled Al Green's "I'm Glad You're Mine" for the track.

Covered By: Grace Jones, Indigo Nights, Live (2008) Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit  (2004) Issac Hayes, Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack (1998)

Standout: Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit (2004)

On his third solo album, Jagger linked with Rick Rubin to test his creative energy, allowing him to work with Lenny Kravitz on their version of "Use Me." Colliding worlds was one thing but to hear Kravitz's vocals come in on the bridge, set the track apart from the rest.

4. “Kissing My Love” | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: J. Cole - “The Cut Off" featuring kiLL Edward  | KOD (2018) Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992) Masta Ace- "Movin On" | Take A Look Around (1990) Master P- "Bastard Child" | The Ghettos Tryin To Kill Me! | 1994

Standout: Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992)

"Kissing My Love" is one of most sampled from Withers catalog, thanks to its feverish drums. It's also why it fits into Dr. Dre's single and the G-funk era.

3. Grover Washington's “Just The Two of Us” featuring Bill Withers | Winelight (1981)

Sampled/Covered On:  Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997) Eminem- "Just The Two of Us" | Slim Shady EP (1997) Keri Hilson- "Pretty Girl Rock" | No Boys Allowed (2010)

Standout: Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997)

Touching and soulful, Smith's dedication to his eldest son Trey is just too cute for words.

2. “Let It Be” | Just As I Am  (1967)

The Original: The Beatles - “Let It Be” | Let It Be (1968)

"Let It Be" is a pretty special record. Aretha Franklin recorded a version a year before the release of The Beatles' version and Withers gave his take on the record in the 70s. Slightly faster, his upbeat take on "Let It Be" just hits different.

1. “Rosie” | Menagerie Re-Issue (1977)

Sampled On: Kanye West - “Roses” |  Late Registration (2005)

As the somber part of Late Registration, "Roses" brings us into Kanye's world where he contemplates the mortality of a loved one. It's a sentimental take on the sample and one of the artist's most underrated songs. It's also a hidden gem for Withers as it isn't featured on Menagerie's LP. It was added as a bonus track on

Enjoy the jams in playlist form below.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.


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We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT

4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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