If you want to be a pop star, you need to get a pop star persona, and by now you’re familiar with Nicki Minaj‘s character: the pink-wigged, heavily made-up, black Barbie outfit-wearing rapstress of radio play fame.

It was back in the late 2000’s after dropping the three mixtapes that got her that Young Money deal, when Nicki began her transformation from lyrical Queens rapper into her Pink Pop Princess persona.

But in the last few months, Ms. Minaj has completely flipped the script once again. She’s dyed her hair back to black, thrown out all her absurd dresses and is now wearing simple, sexy, refined clothes like an adult. We don’t know why she’s doing this, but here’s what we hope is going on: she made so much money from her Pink Barbie look (the deal she signed with Mac Cosmetics was definitely worth a bazillion trillion million dollars) that she doesn’t care anymore. She’s a simple, hood girl at heart, and apparently she’s sick of dressing like a clown.

She’s also openly said that her next album will mark a return to the lyrical rap that got her recognized. So, what will that sound like? Well, this week’s SlamXSounds gives you the Three Stages of Nicki. Play through the mix of Old Rapping Minaj, Middle Pop Minaj, and prepare for New Rapping Again Minaj. You can also follow the mix on Spotify.


Nicki Minaj transformation