19 Nicki Minaj Songs That Paved the Road to ‘The Pinkprint'
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Nicki Minaj Michael Tran/FilmMagic

In an age of surprise albums and lengthy hype-building mixtapes, Nicki Minaj embarked on a slow-burning campaign for her third album, The Pinkprint, which ended up encompassing nearly the entirety of 2014. From her first "album mode" surprise track in the final hours of 2013 forward, everything she released carried the purposeful air of an elite MC coming for the top spot. The Pinkprint was released December 15th and three of its four official singles have hit the Top 40 (a fifth, "Feeling Myself," should be well on its way) — but there was so much more: freestyles over bubbling Southern rap hits, aggressive street singles and crossover collaborations that maintained her spot in the pop firmament. Here's a rundown of 19 tracks that promoted the album's release without ever appearing on it.