Nicki Minaj’s new album, Queen, is full of strong beats and lyrics that intentionally upend the role of predatory masculinity in hip-hop by replacing it with an unmistakable swagger that is unapologetically feminine. Singles like “Barbie Dream” dominate the album because they represent what her fans have come to know and love about Minaj’s music. She’s bold and isn’t afraid to drop a string of headline-worthy disses. With all this bravado, it’s easy to miss the hidden love songs on Minaj’s latest release, but they’re worth a closer listen.
In her interview on Beats 1 Queen Radio, Minaj revealed both songs are about the same person. “That song gets me so fucking emotional,” said Minaj about her song “Come See About Me” which she dubbed one of her favorite and most honest songs off the album. “I want to tell you what it’s about...the same person I wrote ‘Ganja Burn’ about.” Fans of the rapper have theories – her exes Safaree Samuels and Meek Mill obviously being the top two contenders – but Minaj hasn’t revealed who it is.
“Ganja Burn” kicks off Queen by stating the obvious: Nicki Minaj is back and better than ever. Right away, Minaj sets the tone for the album. She references her hiatus before calling out anyone who thinks they can take a shortcut to the top. “Yo, you can't wear Nicki wig and then be Nicki,” she raps. Meanwhile, the chorus of the dancehall hit reveals Minaj’s thoughts behind her bold front. “Every time I get high, I just think about you,” she repeats on a loop. Her use of the phrase “ganja burn” acts as a double entendre that illustrates how she is cutting out the negative things in her life. If her life and career is a garden, she’s burning the weeds. Even after simplifying her life, this person still seems to be on her mind. Minaj isn’t usually one for cryptic messages in her music. She usually favors a much more upfront approach like the rest of her album. We know that whoever it is probably wasn’t from the last year, because during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Minaj revealed that she was taking a break from dating for the entirety of 2017.
Minaj doesn’t bring up this mysterious former love again until nearly the end of the 19-track album. “Come See About Me” is a much softer and contemplative song compared to the rest of the album, and arguably the rest of all of Minaj’s albums. It is a hopeful postmortem that longs for a second chance. With lyrics like, “I know you’ve had a lot of work to do / Oooh, you got used to things without me baby,” it sounds like this breakup wasn’t a recent one, but rather one where they’ve had some time away from each other. It also might be a reference to The Supremes’ song with the same title. Both songs are about holding out hope that someone you still love, and are no longer with, will give the relationship a second chance. They speak to a restlessness and lack of closure that the singer is trying, but ultimately fails, to understand. “You hope that they’re thinking about you and hope you’re okay in this crazy world,” explained Minaj to Beats 1. She got pretty emotional after playing the track for Beats 1, so it’s clear this song and the person it’s about mean a lot to her. The chorus ends with a pretty big ask: “It won’t hurt just to see what we could be / So come see about me, yeah.”
Whoever it is, Minaj wants to see if they can start again. If someone wrote not one but two songs about me on the same album, I’d consider dropping them a line if only to catch up and congratulate them on a great album.