Released in conjunction with a trio of new digital singles—including “No Frauds,” her half-hearted response to Remy Ma’s ferocious “shETHER” diss—Nicki Minaj’s “Queens Got Da Crown” playlist is an admirable survey of her borough’s vaunted rap lineage. Nicki’s selections lean towards rap’s clubby mainstream, so instead of Nas’ “The World Is Yours,” we get “Hate Me Now.” Some historical figures like MC Shan aren’t included at all, but pioneering group Salt-N-Pepa gets three tracks. (Perhaps the least known artist here is Stack Bundles, who was murdered in 2007.) Overall, the playlist is inelegantly sequenced, with each artist’s picks bunched together. But give Nicki credit for revealing Queens’ deep hip-hop roots to her younger teen followers, especially the ones who may be more familiar with her “Super Bass” megahits instead of her “I Get Crazy” mixtape origins. The only act who doesn’t hail from Queens here is JAY Z; his “Can I Get A…” presumably merits inclusion because, uh, he owns TIDAL.
(Note: Nicki’s playlist includes a remix of Mya and JAY Z’s “Best of Me” that’s featured on the Backstage soundtrack, which is a TIDAL exclusive. We substituted it with the original “Best of Me” from Mya’s 2000 album Fear of Flying.)