‘Queen’ gets crowned early: Nicki Minaj’s new album arrives ahead of schedule

Long live the “Queen”! Nicki Minaj‘s new album came as a bit of a surprise, debuting a week ahead of schedule on August 10 instead of August 17 as previously expected. It’s the fourth studio album for the rap star, following her triple-platinum debut “Pink Friday” (2010) and her double-platinum followups “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” (2012) and “The Pinkprint” (2014).

Minaj released the lead single from this album, “Chun-Li,” back in April. That song was a top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and has gone platinum. Then came a second single in June, “Bed” featuring Ariana Grande, which to date has peaked just outside the top-40 at number-43. But the early release of “Queen” could be good news for both artists.

Grande has her own new album scheduled for release on August 17, “Sweetener,” so now the two won’t have to go head-to-head for listeners. The two women have collaborated multiple times over the years, including on the top-10 hits “Bang Bang” (2014) and “Side to Side” (2016). They earned a Grammy nomination for “Bang Bang,” which also featured Jessie J: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance in 2015. But none of them have won a Grammy in any category yet.

Minaj has been nominated 10 times thus far in her career, including Best New Artist (2012) and Best Rap Album for both “Pink Friday” (2012) and “The Pinkprint” (2016). She could be a contender for Best Rap Album again for “Queen,” or even Album of the Year, especially since that category will now have eight slots up for grabs. A win for Best Rap Album would be historic as she would be just the second woman to win that category, following Lauryn Hill with The Fugees for “The Score” in 1997. She’d be the first solo female artist ever to pull it off.

Have you listened to “Queen” yet? Does it reign supreme? And will she finally win Grammys for it?

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