Nicki Minaj

With each new release, artists take a risk. No two recordings can be the same, so it’s inevitable that as newcomers are (hopefully) hopping on the bandwagon, a certain subset of fans are going to feel alienated by the new tune(s). So what do you do if you’re part of that alien-nation? What do you do when musicians zig when you were hoping they’d zag? When they twist when you wanted them to mashed potato? When they feed you a Mounds when you were hankering for an Almond Joy?

Here are the options as I see them:

Option 1: Adapt. Maybe after a few listens you’ll come to appreciate the brilliance of the saxophone track that was so off-putting on the first go-round. Not everything rings true right away, and I’m a big proponent of putting something down and coming back to it with fresh ears.

Option 2: Sulk. The interweb is certainly chock full o’ places for you to voice your discontent. You can even kick it up a notch and say you never liked that band in the first place! OBVIOUSLY, you were being ironic when you posted to Facebook that their last album was “the best thing I’ve heard since Abbey Road” — DUH.

Option 3: Look the other way. Just pretend it never happened. There’s no shame in selective catalog amnesia — it’s a crucial tactic in staying connected with legendary musicians who fire off a dud or get sucked into a passing musical trend. All things considered, there’s no point in throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Up until a few days ago, I would have said that’s it. Choose one of those three. But a producer named RyJ has thrown a fourth option into the fray: Remix your way to happiness.

I count myself as one of the people who were surprised at how pop- and R&B-focused Nicki Minaj’s debut full-length Pink Friday was. Fairly or unfairly, I’d been looking forward to a rap record — a vehicle that would let her fully engage the engine she had revved so impressively in her verses on songs like “Monster” and “Bottoms Up.” (Judging by the commercial success of the album, I’m guessing she hasn’t lost any sleep over the Pitchfork review that expounded upon this idea.)

It’s unclear whether RyJ shares this malcontented viewpoint, but the hour-long, verse-only “Nicki Minaj Pickle Juice Mix” below offers the perfect remedy. You want rap verses? You got ’em! What a wonderful way to experience the wonder that is Minaj’s kaleidoscopic vocal gift, and what a kickass way to kick off the weekend. Click below to listen, but consider yourself warned: This thing is transfixing, and once you start it, the next 55 minutes belong to Nicki.

RyJ – “Nicki Minaj Pickle Juice Mix” [Soundcloud]

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