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Will It Be a ‘Pink’ Christmas for Nicki Minaj Atop the Billboard 200?  

Mr. Nimbus | 12/13/2023

The Contenders is a midweek column that looks at artists aiming for the top of the Billboard charts, and the strategies behind their efforts. This week (for the upcoming Billboard 200 dated Dec. 23), only two new albums seem set to make a major impact near the top of the charts: Nicki Minaj’s latest installment from her Pink Friday series, and the sophomore album from rising pop fixture Tate McRae. 

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Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday 2 (Young Money/Republic): It’s been five years since the public last got a new studio album from veteran superstar Nicki Minaj, but after an endless stream of rumors and seeming false starts, the album fans had been waiting for finally arrived on Friday (Dec. 8): Pink Friday 2, the official sequel to her beloved 2010 debut album. The 22-track set features appearances from fellow A-listers Drake, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Future and Lil Uzi Vert – the latter on the Junior Senior-sampling “Everyday,” which is off to an early lead as the set’s breakout hit – and also includes such previously released stand-alone singles as “Last Time I Saw You,” “Red Ruby da Sleaze” and the Billboard Hot 100-topping smash “Super Freaky Girl.”  

The album is also available in a variety of physical variants, with four vinyl editions — including three retailer-exclusive versions, all with different covers and color vinyl – as well as two CDs, one standard and one signed (being sold through her webstore). Though the digital and streaming versions of Pink Friday 2 have 22 tracks, the physical releases only feature 10, with some fans theorizing that the remainder were perhaps not fully finished in time to make deadlines for pressing and release. A digital deluxe edition of the album was also released through her webstore on Monday, on sale for $5 and featuring a bonus 50 Cent-assisted remix of the album’s “Beep Beep.” Another digital deluxe edition dropped exclusively through her webstore on Dec. 13, also for $5, this time including the new bonus cut “Love Me Enough,” featuring R&B hitmakers Keyshia Cole and Monica. (Minaj previously teased that she would release one new Pink Friday 2 bonus track a day from Monday to Thursday this week.)

With the album off to a good start at streaming services (especially Apple Music, where it still holds five of the top 10 spots on the real-time charts five days after release) and strong physical sales expected, Pink Friday 2 should have a good chance at contending for the Billboard 200’s top spot next week. That would certainly be good news for Minaj, who’s had to settle for the runner-up spot with her last two sets (2014’s The Pinkprint and 2018’s Queen) after being held off by blockbusters from Taylor Swift and Travis Scott, respectively. But history is on her side here: Both of Minaj’s No. 1 albums have come with Pink Friday series releases, with the original topping the Billboard 200 in early 2011 and its Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded follow-up hitting the top spot in April 2012.  

Tate McRae, Think Later (RCA): One of the breakout stories of late 2023 has been rising pop hitmaker and onetime competitive dancer Tate McRae. While McRae found success earlier this decade with the moody singles “You Broke Me First” and “She’s All I Wanna Be,” she hit the top 10 for the first time this fall with the crossover smash “Greedy,” which (along with its hockey rink-set music video) refashioned her as more of a classic triple-threat pop star. The increased attention led to new opportunities for McRae, including her first Saturday Night Live performance and first Billboard cover story in late November.   

Now, she hopes to capitalize on the forward momentum with the release of her sophomore album Think Later. The 14-track set features both “Greedy” and follow-up hit “Exes” (which debuted at No. 34 on the Hot 100 earlier this month), as well as “Grave,” which she played as one of her two songs on SNL, and many other songs co-helmed by writer/producer Ryan Tedder, one of the primary architects behind those two singles.  

The album should stream well, especially with the help of those two pre-established hits, and seems likely to pass the No. 13 bow of her 2022 debut LP I Used to Think I Could Fly and contend for a top 10 spot on next week’s Billboard 200. One thing that may hold it back a little: The set is currently only available in digital and signed CD editions, with other variants being pre-sold on her webstore – including a CD box set and a white opaque vinyl edition – not set to ship until next February.  

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Mr. Nimbus




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