Nicki Minaj originally intended to release her fourth studio album Queen in June, but decided to delay it due to her “perfectionism.” The 'Chun-Li' rapper had pushed the record back to August 10, but much to the disappointment of fans, it looks like the date has been pushed yet again to August 17.
It seems the new delay is likely the result of needing clearance for a Tracy Chapman sample Minaj inadvertently used when it was tucked within another sample.
In a now-deleted tweet, Minaj wrote, “So there’s a record on #Queen that features 1 of the greatest rappers of all time. Had no clue it sampled the legend #TracyChapman – do I keep my date & lose the record? Or do I lose the record & keep my date? 🤦🏽♀️ do we push #Queen back 1week? Ugh! I’m torn, y’all help🙏🏽😔.”
Minaj followed the tweet up with a direct plea to Chapman before getting her fans to poll for input. As of this writing, the poll has 123,275 votes and is locked in a dead 50-50 heat between “Keep date/lose record” and “Keep record/push date 1 wk,” as you can see below.
Since I may have asked it wrong. 🤭🦄 vote. You guys can only imagine how much this means to me. It’s such a perfect body of work 🎈love you. Long time.— Chun-Li (@NICKIMINAJ) August 1, 2018
Since the results of the poll are inconclusive anyway, Minaj officially announced the delay with a note tagged to her Apple Music Essentials playlist takeover, as Billboard reports. “Can’t wait for you guys to hear my 4th album QUEEN ON AUGUST 17!!!!!!!” she wrote. She also teased a “huge surprise” at the beginning of the note, but told fans she had to save it until the day before Queen’s release. Read the full message below:
“My darlings!!! I have a huge surprise that I can’t share until the day before #Queen drops. So in the meantime, check out this playlist I made for you guys. I did #FEFE with my new BFF from BROOKLYN. He’s a little funny looking but he’s really sweet under all those tats. — New York til da DEF!!!! Ha! Last time I teamed up with YG was for his remix to “My Hitta.” We recently performed #BigBank at the BET Awards and had a blast wit my dudes Big Sean and 2 Chainz. I have classic bops with all 3 of them so I’m including them on this list. I’m super excited about my recent collaboration with Ariana Grande. She’s one of the realest artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She couldn’t fly with me to Turks to shoot the #BedVideo so we shot her scenes in Malibu. We’re actually working on edit number 2 for the #BedVideo to include all the fun stuff we had to remove. I love “Ball For Me” with Post Malone. Not sure why he won’t release the video. — It’s DOPE!!! — I hope you enjoy my playlist. Can’t wait for you guys to hear my 4th album QUEEN ON AUGUST 17!!!!!!!”
Whether Chapman will clear the use of the sample before the new release date remains to be seen, but hopefully fans will get what's due without a further delay. Interestingly, if 'Queen' were to drop on August 17, that would pit the album head-to-head with Ariana Grande's latest effort 'Sweetener', set to drop on the same day.
It'll be surely interesting to see who comes out on top, especially considering that the two artists are thick friends and Grande recently collaborated on the 'Queen' single 'Bed'. Apart from 'Bed', Minaj has already previewed the effort with 'Chun-Li' (the SNL performance of which was accused of cultural appropriation), 'Barbie Tingz', and 'Rich Sex'. She’ll also hit the road in support of the album alongside Future for their NICKIHNDRXX Tour this fall.
Revisit the racy video for 'Bed' featuring Ariana Grande below, followed by Minaj's Essentials playlist on Apple Music.