On this day, Dec. 15, in hip-hop history...

2014: At a time when she was making big moves in the industry non-stop for over five years straight, Trinidad and Tobago-born, Queens, NY-raised rapper/singer Nicki Minaj dropped her third studio album, The Pinkprint, on Dec. 15, 2014 through Young Money/Cash Money Records.

When it came time to put together this particular project, Nicki had a lot to live up to. In the five years since she signed with the Young Money imprint, the first lady of YMCMB had become one of the biggest and most bankable stars not only in hip-hop, but throughout the world as a whole. With both of her previous albums, Pink Friday and Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, both being certified multiple times platinum and having received all types of accolades and awards, all of the Queens MC's fans, affectionately referred to as Barbz, anxiously awaited her next move.

When Nicki announced that she was working on material for her next LP, the "Starships" artist made it clear that she wanted keep The Pinkprint hip-hop, focusing on her rap roots. This would come as a bit a detour from her Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded project, which certainly featured some fire verses, but contained many tracks that had much more of a pop/dance vibe. Even the title for her third studio release, The Pinkprint, is a nod to one of the greatest spitters ever, Jay-Z, who released the similarly titled Blueprint in 2001, which has been regarded in many circles as one of the best albums of all time.

“I think everybody knows how obsessed I am with Jay-Z,” Nicki said in a 2014 interview. “He’s always been my favorite rapper, him and Wayne. He did such a great job of creating this Blueprint brand for male rappers, I felt. And I studied a lot of his blueprint, just in terms of becoming a mogul.”

Prior to the album's release at the tail end of 2014, Minaj dropped a total of four singles from The Pinkprint, all of which were highly successful. "Pills N Potions," was released in May of 2014 and peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. The lead single was followed up in August of that year by Nicki's massive hit, "Anaconda." The Polow da Don-produced party anthem features sampled elements of Sir Mix-a-Lot's 1992 smash, "Baby Got Back," and is the highest-charting Nicki Minaj song to date, reaching a peak position of No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The track itself is certified double platinum and was nominated for various awards, including Best Rap Song at the 2015 Grammy Awards. The other successful singles from The Pinkprint that predated the albums release were "Only," featuring Chris Brown and Nicki's fellow Young Money superstars Drake and Lil Wayne, and "Bed of Lies," on which Skylar Grey provided vocals for the hook.

With production from a number of the industry's big names like Dr. Luke and Cirkut, Boi-1da, Metro Boomin, Mike WiLL Made-It and the aforementioned Polow da Don, The Pinkprint was finally released to the public in December after being pushed back several times throughout 2014. As soon as the project dropped, it was met both wide-spread critical acclaim and commercial success. The Pinkprint debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, where it would remain for three consecutive weeks, and moved 244,000 units in its first week. Over the course of 2015, the LP would see the release of three more singles including "Truffle Butter," which appears on the deluxe edition of The Pinkprint and once again features Lil Wayne and Drake, "The Night Is Still Young," and "Trini Dem Girls," along side LunchMoney Lewis.

By the early part of 2016, The Pinkprint became certified double platinum by the RIAA and served as the catalyst for Nicki's Pinkprint World Tour, which ended up grossing $22 million in its 38 shows.

 

Young Money/Cash Money

See Photos of Nicki Minaj's Different Looks Over the Years