All year, I’ve been spinning Nicki’s best tracks and features while absolutely dying of thirst for new music from her. There were about three months this summer that I couldn’t even leave my apartment without hearing her verse on DJ Khaled’s “I Wanna Be With You,” so my struggle has been very, very real.
The only thing that has satiated me throughout these long months has been the Nicki Minaj fragrance collection. Nicki has always been about extensions of her brand. She had a collaboration with OPI that coincided with her debut album, a feat that no one else has been able to accomplish that early in their career. She’s been the face of MAC’s Viva Glam campaign, she has her own clothing line, she’s the face of the often name-checked MYX Moscato, the list goes on and on. From the jump, Nicki has always set out to be not only a rapper, but a mogul. Fragrances were always part of the plan.
I love Nicki Minaj, and you all know the passion I have for fragrances. But hold on, I need to get this off my chest for the sake of full transparency: Those bottles are terrifying.
I remember when she announced her first fragrance and I was like “YAAAS” and then I saw the bottles and I was like “AAAAH.”
They haunt me. I feel like they stare at me in the night. There I’ll be, sleeping like a baby, while visions of Nicki Minaj dance in my head.
and when I wake up…
I shake it off, tell myself it’s all in my head. I’ll go take a shower to start my day.
When all of a sudden:
When will it end?!
I'll go to the kitchen to make myself a balanced breakfast...
Nowhere is safe!
But how very Nicki Minaj of her to have her fragrance bottles be a bust of Nicki Minaj. Let ‘em know, girl.
Pink Friday, the name of her debut album, is also the name of her debut fragrance.
When I think of a celebrity fragrance, I think of Pink Friday. It’s easy to like, equal parts sweet citruses, florals, vanilla, and musks.
It opens with starfruit, which I didn’t know was an actual fruit. I thought it was one of those things that people talked about as if it was real, with the understanding that it doesn’t actually exist, like a script for "Sex and the City 3," or my credibility. Add to that Italian mandarin and boysenberry and you’ve got yourself a sweet, fruity opener.
The middle of the scent boasts jasmine and lotus flower. The base is a bit more complex than we usually find in fragrances like this, held down by carmelized pear, vanilla, wood, and musk. If you’re not turned off by the aggressively sweet opener, the dry down is worth the wait. I’d be interested to see these base notes expanded into a fragrance all its own.
Next is the second fragrance from the Nicki Minaj collection, MINAJESTY, and it’s my favorite of the bunch.
It smells like a women’s interpretation of Marc Jacobs Men, which happens to be my favorite summer scent ever. Minajesty smells like the end of April, when everything is damp and dewy from all of the spring rain, and the weather is starting to warm up with the promise of summer. Minajesty smells like spring break.
The fragrance opens just with peach, red currant, and lemon. These top notes make it sound about as sweet as predecessor, but it’s juicier, tangier, and even more enjoyable. Orchid, frangipani, and magnolia round out the middle, for a nice accent to the sweet fruity top, while tonka bean, vanilla, and musk finish it off at the base with a soft sweetness.
The star of Minajesty is all the fruity notes, but it doesn’t wear like a body spray thanks to the musks at its base. I actually ended up with two bottles (I told you, they keep haunting me) so I sent one to Olivia and she loves it.
After the commercial success of her second album “Pink Friday 2: Roman’s Revenge,” which saw Nicki experimenting with dance and pop music along with rap, a lot has been made of her “going back to her roots” on The Pinkprint. With her third fragrance, along with her third album, she returns to what worked for her the first time.
Her third scent, Onika, after her birth name, is similar to her first fragrance on paper, but smells and wears completely differently. Up top, we’ve got mandarin orange, pear, and starfruit, in the heart, we see more floral middle notes like lily, orchid, and osmanthus, and down below, we’ve got musk, cedar, and sugarcane.
When I read those notes, I had to do a side-by-side comparison of Pink Friday because I thought they were exactly the same. They’re not, but they do both have mandarin and starfruit top notes.
The two fragrances admittedly sound alike, but they couldn’t be more different from each other (take it from me, I’m wearing them both.) Onika is the most adult of the three. It wears a lot closer to the skin and the sweetness is a lot more subdued. I would also dare to say that it blends together more seamlessly -- the fruits, cedar, and musk all melt together much sooner in the wear making for a warm, ambery, almost caramely sweetness, not unlike Kenzo Homme.
Nicki Minaj, Queen of the World, has built herself the empire that she talked about in the beginning of her documentary "My Time Now" (available in full on YouTube and still worth a watch) and these fragrances are just one small part of that. They're clearly my favorite part of it, though.
The Pinkprint drops December 15th and I'm actually dying of excitement.
Have you tried any of Nicki's scents? What's your favorite celebrity scents? What are you wearing right now? What's your favorite Nicki song or lyric? That line "I can tell you lyin', get the fuck out, don't yell at me" line from "Bed of Lies" is so real, omg. Also that Skylar Grey chorus is great, as always.
Tynan is counting down the days to until The Pinkprint on Twitter @TynanBuck.