When Nicki Minaj announced her third studio album, The Pinkprint, she declared it to be Jay Z’s The Blueprint for female rappers. While the album is by no way a classic, it actually should be seen as the gold standard for a female rapper looking to make it big. It’s not blatantly pop (Iggy’s The New Classic is neither rap nor a classic), and doesn’t feel the need to prove itself, unlike Azealia Banks’ Broke with Expensive Taste.

Minaj has polarized her fans throughout her career. Her mixtapes were great showcases of her hip-hop sensibilities, but were so lyrically aggressive that it came off as a girl trying too hard to join a boys club. Her studio albums represented the other end of the spectrum, as her ear for pop hooks and playful raps launched her into Top 40 stardom to the dismay of her early fans. The Pinkprint finally lands the sweet spot; it’s a cohesive, if overlong, album about heartbreak where “Super Bass” and Minaj’s verse on “Monster” could coexist.

The most impressive aspect of The Pinkprint is Minaj’s success in pulling together a roster of very different genres, productions, and features. “Feeling Myself” is a swaggering highlight that sees Beyoncé taking her riskiest dabble in hip-hop. “Get On Your Knees,” featuring Ariana Grande awkwardly smudging her squeaky-clean image, provides subtle commentary on gender expectations in that its sexually aggressive lyrics feel uncomfortable simply because it’s from a woman’s perspective. “Want Some More” sees Minaj at her most lyrically dexterous and is a great showcase for her ability to move effortlessly between flows. Then there’s “The Night is Still Young,” a sequel to “Starships” that’s lyrically darker and much catchier than the pandering original.

Surprisingly, her singles contextualized in the album are its weaker tracks. “Pills and Potions” is impersonal when compared to cuts like “Bed of Lies.” “Anaconda” is still only a banger when you’re drunk at a party. “Only,” despite featuring Drake in his most unintentionally hilarious and thirsty verse, is underwhelming when compared to the far superior “Truffle Butter,” which also features Drake and Lil Wayne.

The Pinkprint is the standard for female rappers because it is authentic. Minaj is vulnerable and honest in a genre that demands bravado. She is firmly in control of her presentation as a brand, but also shows that she is more than that. The pink wig is gone, and we’re all the better for it.

Amanda Watkins
LifeStyle Editor

It was homecoming weekend. There I was at 9:00 in the morning, dancing to Nicki Minaj and far from my normal sober reality.

My housemates and I were hosting our own informal house party to get ready for the football game as we passed around a can of something called “Sucker Punch” and a tube of maroon lipstick. Because hey, what’s a little oral herpes among friends?

The concept of “day drinking” was foreign to me, and quite frankly, I had no idea that a football game and face paint also meant we needed to start hitting the Sambuca 12 hours earlier than normal.

Prior to starting university, I led a pretty alcohol-free and sports-free life. And although I wasn’t all too familiar with either of these worlds, a part of me knew that they weren’t always grouped into one.

As we eventually made our way to campus to watch the game, I was greeted by a string of piss drunk students who, in addition to making me feel sorry for toilet bowls across Hamilton, also made me feel a lot better about my own alcohol tolerance. Everyone had their Mac sweaters on and seemed to be pretty jazzed, but a lot of people seemed completely oblivious to what would be going on that day.

Homecoming means showing school spirit. It’s a time to welcome back alumni and celebrate your school with your classmates and friends. It could mean decking yourself out in maroon and grey, or learning the obscure lyrics to the McMaster anthem, but getting sick from the drink seems like a burnout excuse for enthusiasm.  Alcohol is fun and delicious. I will say that openly without feeling shameful or like a washed up Disney star. But I will also say that I know it’s not a necessary part of having school spirit.

As fun as it was to be drunk in the wee hours of the morn’, it was also kind of sad. My friends and I left the game at halftime because we all felt like shit. And by 6:00 in the evening, we were all lying on the ground, completely hung-over from the morning passed.

As fun as it is to escape from reality for a while, being wasted all the time makes you lose sight of what we’re actually here for. And so, with that being said, I announce my quest for sobriety. For the next month, I will be leading a completely alcohol-free life. And yes, that does include Halloween.

You don’t need to follow my example, especially seeing as we’ve laid out this week’s issue with a kick-ass Mac-inspired drink, beer reviews and hangover cures. But as you indulge in our suggestions and advice, just be safe, use your judgment and remember that we're all coming together this weekend to respectfully celebrate our school.

So thank you, alcohol, for helping make and erase a long string of memories. But I think it may be time for things to change.

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