Nicki Minaj’s 15 Best Songs, Unranked

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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.