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Nicki Minaj Queen review – uneasy coronation for rap’s manic monarch

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Nicki Minaj Queen review – uneasy coronation for rap's manic monarch
Nicki Minaj Queen review – uneasy coronation for rap's manic monarch

Nicki Minaj Queen review – uneasy coronation for rap’s manic monarch: Not everything connects on the rapper’s regal fourth album, but when it does, she shows what a unique talent she is.

As recently noted in these pages, the campaign for Nicki Minaj’s fourth album hasn’t been a charmed one: combative and snippy with fans on Twitter, she has not had a major hit with any of its singles.

Her chart success has instead come from guesting on FeFe with 6ix9ine, the rapper who could be jailed and put on the sex offenders register for using a child in a sexual performance – perhaps not a great look for a woman trying to assert herself, from her album title downwards, as hip-hop’s head of state.

And across 19 tracks, there are inevitably some that are not even fit for a lowly viscountess in a leaky manor house, particularly the R&B numbers. Despite their heartfelt accounts of trust issues, Nip Tuck and Run & Hide evaporate from your memory as soon as they end.

Thought I Knew You is as disappointing as the romances that she and the Weeknd complain about. Her single with Ariana Grande, Bed, is melodically underpowered, even if Minaj vividly admires some oral lovemaking skills (indeed, the sex on the album is all about queenly cunnilingus, Minaj airily receiving rather than giving).

But her singing voice – audibly influenced by Grande’s delivery – has strengthened, and, when given a robust song in Come See About Me, she creates an authentic lighter up moment.

The reason why most people show up for Minaj though is her rap flow: always on point, yet elastic and mutable. Perhaps her closest analog is Eminem, someone else who plays with persona and sometimes lets their technical excellence do the heavy lifting rather than truly interesting lyrics. Amid “are they aren’t they” romance rumors, he turns up for a spectacular long-form verse on Majesty as he continues to rail against mumble rap with his fastest bars of all time.

Minaj’s delivery is hefty too, but Labrinth’s catchy chorus is not finessed into her verses. Elsewhere she is slightly upstaged by a couple of other guests. Swae Lee makes Chun Swae perhaps the album’s best track, sweeping around his upper vocal register like a bird of prey catching thermals, while Foxy Brown’s percussive, rat-a-tat-tat patois on Coco Chanel is riveting.

Nicki Minaj Queen review – uneasy coronation for rap's manic monarch

Nicki Minaj Queen review

But when her own flow reaches equilibrium – vowels pitching and rolling in her Queens accent, but always kept in alignment – there are few who can match her.

The verbal musicality to Chun-Li’s chorus is masterful, and while her manic, cartoonish-side might immediately distinguish her, as on her previous masterpieces such as Beez in the Trap, it’s her slower flows that are the most satisfying: there’s a certitude to her delivery on both Rich Sex and Miami which is truly befitting of a monarch.

Her knowingly cutesy and babyish “Barbie” flow, meanwhile, is used immaculately on the Mike Will Made It-produced bounce track Good Form, with lines like “he tryna smash like when the whip flips/I hit licks just to floss with this wrist” hugely satisfying for their lip-smacking symmetry.

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Then there is the uproarious Barbie Dreams, a kind of celebrity roast that clowns some of the biggest names in rap for their physical and intellectual frailties as well as their sexual prowess.

DJ Khaled’s unwillingness to give head to a woman is given particularly short shrift from the orally-fixated Minaj; Drake seemingly does go down on her, “but I don’t know if the pussy wet or if he cryin’ and shit”. It is the perfect track for a gossipy, meme-obsessed age, and Minaj smartly puts herself at the front of the social media conversation.

Perhaps as a result of having to be, per the cliche, twice as good as these men to be even half as successful, she is obsessed with status and domination. “New Slaves, but I’m still the master … Miss Aretha, I think I just passed her” she states proudly, having broken Aretha Franklin’s record for the most US chart hits by a female solo artist earlier this year; she clearly enjoys the sport of jostling for supremacy.

But her zeal to cling to power means she makes a cheap shot at stripper-turned-chart-topper Cardi B – “I ain’t ever had to strip to get to pole position” – and throughout, the constant announcements of her own majesty muscle out other topics.

There are some very strong tracks here and Minaj’s flow remains utterly unique, even if she only puts it to use disparaging her subjects. She still has a good case to be the queen, but uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, perhaps.

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Johnny Cash wife: Who was Johnny Cash’s first wife? When did he marry June Carter?

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Johnny Cash’s music is iconic in the country and folk worlds. Along with his wife, June Carter, he made some incredible music, as well as on his own. Before June became his wife, however, Johnny was married to someone else, with whom he had children.

Who was Johnny Cash’s first wife?

Johnny Cash’s first wife was called Vivian Liberto, and their meeting was rather adorable.

According to Robert Hilburn’s 2013 biography Johnny Cash: The Life, Johnny and Vivian met in July 1951, when he and a friend in the Air Force stopped by a local skating rink.

He saw Vivian and, in the biography, is said to have described her as “the prettiest girl he had ever seen.”

READ MORE: James Bond: How Pierce Brosnan landed job 007 role ‘Waited YEARS’

After his return from abroad, Johnny and Vivian married on August 7, 1954, at St. Ann Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, despite Johnny being a protestant.

However, their relationship was not to continue in such harmonious terms.

In 1961 the family moved to California, however, this and Johnny’s career started to cause the family unit to break down.

Despite this, the couple had four daughters: Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, and Tara, but divorced in 1966 after 12 years of marriage.

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Vivian eventually filed for divorce in 1966, claiming Johnny’s constant tour, drug and alcohol abuse and run-ins with the law were behind their split, and she gained full custody of the children.

While this has not been suggested as the reason for their divorce, Johnny had, sometime before, met his long-term love, June Carter.

While married to Vivian, Johnny met June backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, in 1955.

They started touring together with Johnny as a solo artist while June was part of The Carter Family in the early 1960s, and became very close.

On February 22, 1968, which was 13 years after they met and two years after his marriage split, Johnny proposed during a live performance in Ontario.

The couple married on March 1, 1968, in Kentucky, and had their only child together, John, on March 3, 1970.

Johnny also became step-father to June’s daughters from her first two marriages, Carlene and Rosie, who lived with the family.

The couple continued to work and tour together for years, right up until June’s death in May 2003.

Johnny died four months later in September 2003.

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‘Elvis left me for Priscilla’ says girlfriend Anita Wood ‘but he wanted us BOTH’

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Elvis started dating Anita in 1957, when she was a rising Hollywood starlet. A year later, things were going strong and she wanted to go with him or at least visit when he started his two-year military service in Germany. Elvis’s Machiavellian manager Colonel Parker blocked her attempts, believing it was better to leave his heartthrob client appearing less tied down to his adoring fans. The irony is, of course, that the singer met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu in Germany instead. 

Wood became aware of the rumours surrounding Elvis’ relationship with the teenager who he met just weeks before he was due to return to the US in 1960. Press and fan groups had already started to refer to Priscilla as Elvis’ ‘sweetheart’. 

When he came home, she found a letter from Priscilla begging Elvis to convince her father to let her visit. Wood confronted her boyfriend, but he said it was just a friendship and implored her not to say anything which could potentially ruin his career and reputation.

This went on for two years, with Priscilla sending Elvis letter in bright pink envelopes, but it wasn’t until 1962 that Wood realised Elvis had actually seen her rival. He had flown Priscilla tpo America, promising her parents he would not take her out of Memohis, but instead whirling them away on a romantic trip to Las Vegas.  

READ MORE: Elvis and Priscilla: Sex games, role play, threesomes and polaroids

One evening at home, Wood overheard a conversation between the star and his father, Joe.

Wood recalled: “When I was coming down the back stairs into the kitchen, I heard Elvis say’, I’m having the hardest time making up my mind between the two.'”

Devastated, she marched into the room and forced Elvis to admit what was going on.

Elvis took me into the dining room and his dad was sitting at the table. And we sat down at the table and I said’, I’m gonna make that decision for you, I heard what you said and I’m leaving’.

And I remember that I started crying, it was a very difficult decision to make. I must say that was probably the most difficult decision that I’ve ever made in my life.

Wood described the emotional scene: “When I left, I knew there would be no going back. I would never have come back, never.

“So anyway, I said, ‘I’m leaving’, and I called Andy, my brother, to come pick me up and we sat there and talked a little bit longer. Nobody could eat, there was food, but nobody could eat.”

Anita had become very close to Elvis’ family over the years, often staying at Graceland while Elvis was away and even his father hoped this wasn’t the end.

Wood added: “I remember Mr. Presley said’, Well if you must leave Anita, ya’ know, maybe you’ll meet again. There are people that sometimes separate and they get back together, and you’ll get back together again’.”

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Wood, however, knew she woudln’t be back: “I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m not planning on it’. And I was crying and Elvis was crying.

“And he just said, ‘I pray to God that I’m doing the right thing by letting you go’. And I said, ‘You can’t keep me from going, I’m going’.

“I mean I was really upset, I was mad, I was hurt and he wasn’t going to have to make that decision.

“So my brother came and we got some things that I had there and we left, and I never went back again as his girlfriend.”

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Ozzy Osbourne marriage: How long have Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne been married?

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Ozzy began his relationship with Sharon, his then-manager, and the couple married in 1982, the same year his divorce from Thelma was finalised.

Sharon and Ozzy have three children together: Aimee, born September 2, 1983; Kelly, born October 27, 1984; and Jack, born November 8, 1985.

As a result, the couple have been married for 38 years in total, though it has not been an easy ride.

Ozzy has had his problems with alcohol and drugs in the past and in 1989 he was arrested for attempted murder, which Sharon described in The Guardian.

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